Sugar Ray Leonard’s Son Speaks Out About What His Dad Did To His Mom
Sugar Ray Leonard is a boxing legend but what his son, Ray Leonard Jr., has recently disclosed about him, just affirms what we always say here at ILOSM- that the old school legends we admire are great entertainers, or in Sugar Ray’s case, great athletes, but that doesn’t mean that they are perfect people, nor should we expect them to be…they are simply flawed human beings, just like the rest of us.
Leonard Jr. talked to WSOCTV news about being a kid and seeing his Dad, Sugar Ray Leonard, beat his mother, Juanita Wilkinson, until her ‘head was bloody.’ He says he often has feelings of guilt, still to this day, for not doing more to try to stop his Dad’s alleged abuse at that time. Here is what was reported:
“It’s still overwhelming that you know…I can’t believe it still bothers me to this day. I try to put on this outward appearance of this strong guy,” [said Ray Leonard Jr.] He said appearing strong was a way of life, growing up as the son of a boxing legend. He [explained] how quickly fame hit his family and how tough it was on them all. Leonard said the violence he witnessed is still crystal clear in his memory. He recalled an incident at 12 years old, when his dad came home and his mom asked her son (Ray Leonard Jr.) not to go.
“She was saying ‘Ray [Jr.] don’t…don’t leave…don’t leave, and then I got back upstairs and her head’s bloody and…I screamed at him and he left.”
Leonard says he still deals with those memories and wants to help others going through the same thing…Leonard hopes to help men in our community to heal and inspire them to help others.
“It’s about taking the power back, about having courage, about not letting someone take your happiness away from you.”
In 1990 Sugar Ray and Juanita divorced and during their divorce proceedings, Juanita said that he abused her when he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine (Sugar Ray has be clean since 2006). Sugar Ray then held a press conference to say Juanita’s claims were true: “I can never erase the pain or the scars I have made through my stupidity, my selfishness. All I can do is say I’m sorry, but that is not enough,” Sugar Ray said.
Leonard Jr. also said that he hopes to have his Pops join him on his domestic violence speaking tour one day, and we hope so too, because it will probably be therapeutic for the both of them.
Okay ILOSM fam,’ now that we know that Sugar Ray Leonard- the boxing icon, the man who raises money to find a cure for childhood diabetes- was once abusive toward his wife, does that change our respect for him as a boxing legend? For those of us who still struggle with respecting Sugar Ray- the legend (not the man) after reading this, it’s definitely understandable because what Sugar Ray did to his wife was 100% wrong…let’s also ask ourselves this though: If someone shined a spotlight on anything we have done in our lives (or maybe anything our children have done in their’s) that we’re certainly not proud of, do we feel that our horrible decisions/mistakes define our entire being, and that we should forevermore be solely judged based on our wrongdoings? If our answer is ‘No’ then we may need to take a look in the mirror.
This is ABSOLUTELY NOT to defend Sugar Ray’s past abuse, again, that was a horrible thing for him to do to his wife and for his son to have to witnessed, no doubt about it. The point I’m making is that we oftentimes put celebrities on a pedestal and expect them to be great in every aspect of their lives, simply because they’ve accomplished a high level of greatness in their professional journeys. The truth is that they have flaws, so our expectations are often far too high for them, or any human being to achieve. Although celebs, like Sugar Ray, have chosen a path that puts them in the spotlight, no matter how hard they may try to be perfect role models, they will always fall short on some level, just like us regular folks. Some of us fall harder than others, but we all fall…the question is, how quick, and how well, will we recover from that fall?
Ray Leonard Jr. is 41 years old now, with four children- two girls and two boys (SEE PICS OF RAY JR.’S WIFE AND KIDS ON PAGE 3). One of his daughters is in college, the other three children are still in grade school. Ray Jr. has been married for about 14 years now and he says he is determined to be a great father and husband to his wife and children. He is also a motivational speaker and a leadership trainer. He constantly travels the country to train many sports teams and organizations on how to be more fine tuned in their professions and their personal lives.
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