The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring

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9780670022724: The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring

In this unflinching and inspiring autobiography, the boxing legend faces his single greatest competitor: himself.

Sugar Ray Leonard's brutally honest and uplifting memoir reveals in intimate detail for the first time the complex man behind the boxer. The Olympic hero, multichampionship winner, and beloved athlete waged his own personal battle with depression, rage, addiction, and greed.

Coming from a tumultuous, impoverished household and a dangerous neighborhood on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., in the 1970s, Sugar Ray Leonard rose swiftly and skillfully through the ranks of amateur boxing-and eventually went on to win a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics. With an extremely ill father and no endorsement deals, Leonard decided to go pro.

The Big Fight takes readers behind the scenes of a notoriously corrupt sport and chronicles the evolution of a champion, as Leonard prepares for the greatest fights of his life-against Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, and Wilfred Benitez. At the same time Leonard fearlessly reveals his own contradictions and compulsions, his infidelity, and alcohol and cocaine abuse.

With honesty, humor, and hard-won perspective, Leonard comes to terms with both triumph and struggle-and presents a gripping portrait of remarkable strength, courage, and resilience, both in and out of the ring.

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About the Author:

Sugar Ray Leonard worked as a boxing analyst for ABC and HBO after retiring from the ring. He lives with his wife and two children in California.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

My eyes never lie. There they are, open wide, in the mirror of the dressing room at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Those eyes would reveal which of the two dueling personalities would enter the ring as I took on the most intimidating opponent of my career: Marvin Hagler . . . Would it be Sugar Ray Leonard, true American hero since capturing the gold medal in Montreal more than a decade earlier? Sugar Ray was resilient, fearless, unwilling to accept failure. The smile and innocence of a child would be gone, replaced in the ring by a man filled with rage he did not understand . . . Or would it be Ray Leonard, the part-time boxer at the age of thirty whose best was well behind him, his days and nights wasted on fights which never made the headlines, fights he lost over and over, to alcohol and cocaine abuse and depression?

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