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The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring Hardcover – June 6, 2011
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“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
“Champions come and go, but to be legendary you got to have heart, more heart than the next man, more than anyone in the world. Ray's heart was bigger than all the rest. He would never stop fighting.” — Muhammad Ali
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.
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This book, details in a chronological fashion, many events throughout Sugar Ray Leonard's life...beginning with his childhood, the circumstances that lead him into boxing, his rise to fame and glory within the boxing world and maybe most importantly, how that life of success and achievement almost destroyed this remarkable athlete.
Initially I found a lot of childhood info, particularly in early chapters, that while may have important and interesting to some, was not what I'd bought this book for. I had expected that Leonard had come from a poor black neighborhood and grew up with few advantages in life...what I'd wanted was the details of his boxing career and the things that influenced this period in his life. However, as I got deeper into his story, I began to realize that these childhood anecdotes did in fact have a major influence in his boxing development and then later on when things began to drift out of control.
Also, the revelations in this book made me realize just how naive a person (me) can be about a perceived hero...Sugar Ray Leonard. During his boxing and commentary career he was one of the few sports figures that I always truly admired...he was, as he says in his own words personable and charismatic and this was how I thought of him, until I read this book. To witness your hero display and succumb to the human frailties that were exposed in this book...his unabashed philandering, the alcohol abuse and cocaine addiction, was to say the least, eye opening and disturbing. Leonard, to his credit, seemed to mature in his post boxing years, admitting to his many mistakes and appearing truly remorseful for those he hurt the most, his family.
That being said it was still thrilling to read his accounts of the classic battles with Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, and Marvin Hagler. So much going on in his mind as well as the ring. You could almost feel the tension that must have prevailed on those special nights.
I realized that this book was partially ghost written, (it would have to have been), but yet it came across as just that...ghost written. I had the image of Leonard verbalizing the ideas and someone else converting them into readable syntax. Really, I expected this...just taken aback by how obvious it was. Really a small complaint in an otherwise intriguing account of one man's life.
An interesting book detailing the life and career of one of boxing greatest figures.
4 1/2 to 5 Stars.
It was so great to relive the moments of his greatest fights ever-- Duran, Hearns and Hagler. I watched all three of them and it was wonderful to relive those moments. Sugar Ray was so light on his feet and quick, a real smooth go-getter and didn't take any stuff in the ring. When that bell rang, all that was on his mind was pulverizing his opponent, which he did so eloquently.
I was shocked to learn how long he boxed because I must have stopped watching his fights after Hagler, and although he realized that his body had seen better days, he still holds the heart of a true fighter. He is and always will be "The Champ" in my book, and kudos to him for telling his story and freeing himself of the demons he had to live with.
This is an outstanding read and will keep you engaged from the beginning to the end! I have even more respect for Sugar Ray, the fighter, and Ray Leonard, the man!
SIDENOTE: My only problem with this Kindle version is that Sugar didn't put any pictures in the book. Perhaps in paper he did, but none appeared here. But that will not stop you from enjoying the book!
Reading through the pages, one does hear the same Sugar Ray voice we've heard during his interviews. Thus, it is like a confessional inteview, opening up about his own alcoholism, drug abuse, infidelity, womanzing, and his co-enabling the addictions of his friends and family. Meanwhile, we get a few snapshots on what his thinking, strategies, and concerns were with each of his major fights. This is book is a priceless insight into a great boxing legend.