Sugar Ray Leonard: Coach sexually abused me

Sugar Ray Leonard poses for a publicity photo during training for an upcoming bout, Jan. 5, 1991. Getty Images/Scott Halleran

Sugar Ray Leonard
Sugar Ray Leonard poses for a publicity photo during training for an upcoming bout, Jan. 5, 1991.
Getty Images/Scott Halleran

Sugar Ray Leonard says that as a young boxer he was sexually abused by an Olympic boxing coach, according to the New York Times.

In his soon-to-be-published book "The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring," Leonard describes the incident, which he says occurred in a deserted parking lot in the mid-70s. Leonard writes that a "prominent Olympic boxing coach" in his 40s sexually assaulted him as the two sat in a car discussing the upcoming 1976 Olympics, the paper reports.

"Before I knew it, he had unzipped my pants and put his hand, then mouth, on an area that has haunted me for life. I didn't scream. I didn't look at him. I just opened the door and ran," Leonard writes.

The former champ, who doesn't name the coach, says that he initially considered glossing over the incident but later decided it was important to reveal, the Times reports.

"I realized I would never be free unless I revealed the whole truth, no matter how much it hurt," he writes.

According to the Times, Leonard candidly discusses other topics in the book, including his cocaine use, growing up in a household of alcohol abuse and domestic violence, and fathering a son at age 17.

Leonard, now 55, won the Olympic gold medal in 1976 and went to win world titles in five weight divisions during his illustrious boxing career. He has also appeared on numerous TV programs, including this season's "Dancing With The Stars."

Photos: "Dancing with the Stars" Season 12

Leonard declined to comment to the Times, saying he would be promoting his book in June.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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