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The Big Fight In this unflinching and inspiring autobiography, boxing legend Leonard faces his single greatest competitor: himself. 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.

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14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Sugar Ray tells it all 12 juin 2011
Par Frank Scoblete author of Confessions of a Wayward Catholic - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This autobiography blew me away.

Like many Americans, I always thought of Leonard as the All-American athlete - pure and perfect. Certainly he is in the top ten of the all-time great boxers - at least in my opinion - having defeated some of his fellow all-time greats such as Marvin Hagler, Wilfredo Benitez, Roberto Duran and Tommy Hearns.

But I had no idea of what his life was really like during those years: sexual abuse, drug addiction, alcoholism, womanizing on a scale not seen since Wilt Chamblerlain. He was to all intents and purposes in a horrible cyclone of his own making - from dysfunctional family, to "yes" men who tried to suck his fortunes dry.

A terrific book. As a boxing fan, Leonard explains all the ingredients in his training, thinking and fighting style. Great stuff.
25 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Champ 8 juin 2011
Par Robin Friedman - Publié sur
Format: Relié
"He, truly, is supreme in battle,
Who would conquer himself alone,
Rather than he who would conquer in battle
A thousand, thousand men."

These words, from a Buddhist scripture called the Dhammapada, express a sentiment common to all religions. They also seem to me an appropriate motto for this autobiography of the famous boxer, Sugar Ray Leonard (b. 1956) who frequently called himself simply "the champ". During the height of his boxing career from the late 1970's through the 1980's, Leonard fought and won great fights in the ring against high caliber opposition including Wilfred Benitez, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, and in 1987 coming out of retirement his famous and controversial upset of Marvin Hagler. Yet during the time he was vanquishing his ring opponents and cultivating a smooth, clean-cut public appearance, Leonard was nearly defeated by his own womanizing, alcoholism, and drug addiction. Leonard was a person who needed to conquer himself.

Leonard tells his own story in this new autobiography, "The Big Fight" written (ghostwritten)with the assistance of sportswriter Michael Arkush. I was interested in this book because I lived in Washington, D.C. during Leonard's glory years and followed boxing during that time. Autobiography is a difficult medium. In spite of the best of intentions, few writers of autobiographies are able to describe their lives honestly, both the good parts and the bad parts. Sugar Ray Leonard does not fully succeed in this effort, but he makes a game attempt.

Ray Charles Leonard was named for his mother's favorite singer. Leonard was a quiet, introspective boy who found what he wanted to do when he began to box at a club in suburban Maryland at the age of 14. He progressed rapidly. He was a Golden Gloves champion and in 1976, at the age of 20 won the Golden Medal at the Olympics in Montreal. Leonard gave himself the name "Sugar" after boxing great Sugar Ray Robinson. At first reluctant to turn pro, Leonard fought incessantly and successfully for the first three years of his professional career before winning his first championship in 1979 against Benitez in a grueling fight. Leonard suffered a detached retina and retired and came out of retirement four times during his career. Leonard was fortunate in having trainers who stayed with him and a manager and attorney, Mike Trainer, who looked after Leonard's best interests and did not allow him to be taken advantage of in the corrupt boxing world.

In his autobiography, Leonard makes much of his two identities, Ray and Sugar. Ray Leonard is the child of poor, hardworking parents who tries to behave decently in life. Sugar is the flamboyant boxer, powerful in the ring, but dependent upon the approval of others, egotistical, repeatedly unfaithful to his devoted wife and small children, and increasingly given to alcohol and substance abuse. Sugar sometimes takes the responsibility for his behavior upon himself; in other places in the book he tends to blame growing up in poverty, the continued fighting he witnessed between his parents, and two incidents of sexual abuse from older men that he suffered as an adolescent.

The book shows an individual who is devoted to what can only be described as his calling to be a boxer. Leonard was never so happy as when he was preparing for a fight or in the ring. He was a student of the "sweet science" and was able to size up his competition, physically and mentally, to play to his own strengths and his opponents weaknesses. He also loved the adoration of the crowds and of his immediate retinue, the many women who threw themselves at him, the thrill at being the best in his field, and the lavish sums of money he earned.

Leonard also lost a loving wife and two children, and nearly self-destructed with alcohol and drugs. After his divorce in the late 1980's he ultimately remarried a woman named Bernadette Robi. He reduced his philandering over time and made progress in curing his drug and alcohol addictions. Ray Leonard over the course of his life has at last conquered Sugar.

The fighter still remains. The strongest, most convincing, scenes of this book are those in which Leonard describes and offers his own views of his fights. The book is at its best in describing the first fight with Tommy Hearns in 1981 which Leonard won by a TKO in the 14th round after being behind on the scorecards. The fight with Hagler in 1987 also gets a good description from Leonard's point of view. In a major upset, Leonard won the fight by split decision, a result which remains controversial among die-hard boxing fans. Leonard believes, probably rightly so, that he won the Hagler fight. But he admits that, he lost his 1989 brawling rematch with Thomas Hearns even though the fight was scored a draw.

The book is colloquially and clearly written in words and thoughts that could well be Leonard's own. With some tendency to blame others for his misdeeds, the book shows a substantial attempt at honesty. At long last, Leonard says he is at peace with himself. As the book continued, I became increasingly drawn into it. This is a book both about fighting with one's inner demons and about the fight game -- the brutal, corrupt but undeniably fascinating world of professional boxing.

Robin Friedman
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Natural 7 novembre 2011
Par Pugwash - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Any American who was even the most remote Sports fan in the late 1970's and early 1980's knew about Sugar Ray Leonard. The heir apparent to the fading Muhammud Ali, blessed with the pixie-like looks, a 500 watt telegenic smile and an articulate speaking style rarely seen in the sweet science, he became both a media darling and a fan favorite.

He also began pulling down purses previously unheard of for non-heavyweight fighters. And, he was a winner. He handed Roberto Duran, a fighting machine, only his second loss in almost eighty fights. In his defining fight, he rallied from behind for a late round stoppage of a previously unbeaten Thomas Hearns. After a premature retirement brought on by a detached retina, he made a comeback after fighting only one fight in almost four years to challenge Marvin Hagler. This was significant for two reasons. He was stepping up two weight classes, and he was taking on a Champion who hadn't lost in ten years. Hagler had steamrolled through the middle weight division, laying waste to all legimate cantenders over a six year reign.

Sugar Ray walked into the ring a 4-1 underdog, and pulled off the stunning upset via a controversial decision.

But beneath the glare of the cameras and his celebrity persona, trouble brewed. His marriage and family life were badly shattered. His relationships with his wife and kids were fractured and non-existant. His battle with the bottle and cocaine were as painful as any punishment he took in the ring. Although, to the naked eye, he seemed to be a man who had everything, he was deeply unhappy.

Sugar Ray Leonard takes a refreshingly honest look at himself. A man never known for his humility dishes it out in heavy dosages here.

Although he was as accomplished an athlete as the sporting public has seen over the past fifty years, he shows us his ugly side, and his warts. To this reviewer, he has never looked better.

A compelling, interesting, riveting read.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The story of Sugar Ray Leonard..the man...the boxer 16 juin 2011
Par R. Nicholson - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
"The Big Fight: My Life in and out of the Ring" is an autobiography written by Sugar Ray Leonard with Michael Arkush. The hardcover book is 320 pages in length while the Kindle e-edition is a 449 Kb download.

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.

Ray Nicholson
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Insights into a Boxing Legend's Storied Career 13 juillet 2011
Par Chris Custer - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
A very good book for fans of Sugar Ray. I quite enjoyed it! Here is a man proved to be clevor in many ways, not just in boxing and in beating the very best boxers of his era (e.g. Benitez, Duran, Hearns, Hagler), but in many of his life's choices. Born dirt-poor in a violent ghetto, where everyone was either dying or getting drug-addicted, somehow he steared clear of trouble long enough to become the best that he could be in boxing. His entire family were alcoholics, heroin addicts, and lazy misfits. Somehow, Sugar Ray had the inner strength to break that chain and make something of himself. His best life-choice was in taking the advice of Mahammad Ali and not allowing himself to be owned by anyone. So, he sidestepped both Don King and Bob Arum and found his own manager in businessman Mike Trainer. He knew enough to know that Trainer was the only man he could ever truly trust. Now, how smart was that! If only Mike Tyson were so lucky.

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.
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