The Big Fight
My Life In and Out of the Ring
In his New York Times bestselling memoir, one of America's greatest boxing legends faces his single greatest competitor: himself.
In Washington, D.C., during the 1970s, a black man could get into the newspapers in one of two ways: crime-or boxing. "Sugar" Ray Leonard chose to fight. After winning a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics, Ray wanted to call it quits and go to college, but his family's financial needs made him go pro. Boxing history was made. All the while, another, darker Ray-one overwhelmed by depression, rage, drug addiction, sexual abuse, and greed-battled for dominance. In The Big Fight, Ray comes to terms with both these men and shares a brutally honest and remarkably inspiring portrait of the rise, fall, and ultimate redemption of a true fighter-inside and outside the ring.
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?
"The intelligence and self-reflection that helped Sugar Ray become one of the greatest fighters of his generation have also stood him in good stead outside the arena."
-The Boston Globe
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