May 28, 2017

Sugar Ray Leonard talks about movie based on memoir Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard is in talks about a movie deal for his well-received autobiography with Michael Arkush, “The Big Fight: My Life in and out of the Ring.” Asked who he wants to play him, the former champ doesn’t miss a beat: “Brad Pitt.”

But seriously, he tells us, “It’s not a boxing movie, per se. It’s really life; boxing is the backdrop. It’s a fight outside the ring.”

Telling his story — complete with revelations of sexual abuse by a prominent Olympic boxing coach and another older man involved in the sport — has already had an amazingly strong impact, considering the book just came out in June.

”I didn’t think it would be as cathartic as it has been, as really therapeutic as it’s been to get this out, to get rid of this toxic poison in my system,” he says. And not just for Leonard himself. He says he has been approached many times while on book tour by fans who tell him they, too, have felt the shame of sexual abuse. “Being a guy, a dude, a fighter, a black man, it’s totally against all of our rules, our codes. I’ve had all kinds of guys come up — in business suits, in jeans, in incredible shape, with beer bellies, with tattoos — they hug me and share tears. They say, ‘Man, you know, I was one of those guys. Thank-you.’”

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Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith are among America’s leading columnists. They’ve covered the Hollywood beat for decades — Elvis and “Easy Rider” through the Jonas Bros. and “Avatar” and all the stars and their triumphs and scandals in-between. Their Creators Syndicate column, Beck/Smith Hollywood Exclusive, is a source of top celebrity interviews and entertainment news in newspapers across the country as well as online. To read more about Marylin and Stacy go to

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