Boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard has revealed that he was sexually abused by a prominent Olympic boxing coach.
The incident is divulged in the book The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring, to be released by Viking in June, according to the New York Times.
The abuse, Leonard says, took place several years after a 1971 incident in Utica, N.Y. when the coach had Leonard and another teenage fighter bathe in a tub of hot water and Epsom salts while the coach sat on the other side of the bathroom.
Leonard said the abuse several years later happened in a car in an empty parking lot across from a recreation center when the coach in his late 40s explained about how much a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics would mean to the fighter's future.
Leonard said he was flattered and filled with hope to hear that.
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, he said.
Leonard says when he initially wanted to reveal the incident to the point in which the coach stopped before there was contact.
That was painful enough, Leonard wrote. But last year, after watching the actor Todd Bridges bare his soul on Oprah's show about how he was sexually abused as a kid, I realized I would never be free unless I revealed the whole truth, no matter how much it hurt.
Leonard declined to comment and said through the publisher he would be promoting the book in June.