When I was a kid, Sugar Ray Leonard was one of, if not the most recognizable, names in boxing.
He didn’t just box, he boxed with style. He boxed with swagger. He was an entertainer.
He shuffled his feet in the ring long before he danced with stars. He wound up his punches like an airplane propeller and in turn energized the arena and the crowd at home.
Sitting on the floor of my parents home in Scranton, PA, I watched what my father watched. I watched Sugar Ray Leonard’s matches on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
I used Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader action figures to recreate the bouts.
Through the eyes of a child, Sugar Ray could do no wrong. Sugar Ray was an American hero.
As I’ve grown older, media coverage has also grown to include some of the darker and less-heroic aspects of the superstar lifestyle.
People who I once thought could do no wrong are often revealed, like most people, to have warts, demons and struggles that they must overcome in life.
In his new book, Sugar Ray Leonard: The Big Fight — My Life In and Out of the Ring, he pulls no punches.
Leonard brings the reader into the fights he had out of the ring and shows how he was able to defeat some of the toughest challengers he’s ever faced.
He stopped by our Bristol headquarters recently and I had the chance to chat with him on what made him write this book, what it’s like to visit ESPN and his secret to playing himself in a movie that’s set nearly 20 years ago.