Sugar Ray Leonard's Biggest Fight May Have Been Outside the Ring

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 20, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Sugar Ray Leonard has won lots of championship titles. He is one of the best boxers of all time. And now he's out with a tell-all book, "The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring" And for the first time Sugar Ray Leonard goes public with his personal demons. Joining us is boxing legend and author Sugar Ray Leonard. Good evening.


VAN SUSTEREN: You read the book and you read about the demons, but I want to know about the other stuff. Why were you such a great boxer?

LEONARD: Boxing found me, I found boxing at the tender age of 14. I was such a student. I wanted to be so special, that I trained so hard. I ran extra miles. I did everything necessary to achieve success.

VAN SUSTEREN: Muhammad Ali says one of your secrets to success is you have such a big heart. What do you think he meant by that?

LEONARD: Greta, I never gave up. I'm one of the most optimistic persons in the world. I always believed that -- there's another shot, another chance. In boxing, I never gave up. I kept trying, kept trying. Even when things seemed so dim, I continued to push forward to make something happen in my favor.

VAN SUSTEREN: Talk about the demons. You group up in a very tough growing up with your family. I know Mike Tyson pretty well. He also had a tough growing up. Does tough growing up have any influence on your success as a boxer?

LEONARD: My mom is so feisty. She is 82 and she is great, strong, determined. I never met a person as determined as my mother. From working hard for six kids to just trying to keep the household down or maintain my father's discipline, my dad, I'm so much like my father too. My father was so introverted, quiet, shy, nice. I got attributes from my father and mother.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you love boxing? As a spectator, do you like boxes better or have you moved on to other sports?

LEONARD: Boxing will always be in my life. Boxing is a sport I live dearly because it made me the person I am today. Without boxing, because of my neighborhoods, who knows what would have happened to me. It was always about following the leader. And I definitely was not a leader. Boxing gave me discipline a sense of self. It made me more outspoken. It gave me more confidence.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why did you speak about the molestation in the book, that you were the victim of that? Why was that important to put in the book?

LEONARD: You know, Greta, I did that for me. I was hurting so bad for over 30 years. I never told anyone what happened. I told my first wife Juanita. Then many years later, I told my present wife Bernadette what happened. But I told each one under the influence of alcohol or drugs, because I didn't have the courage or the nerve.

First of all, I'm a man, I'm a dude, I'm a fighter. You don't show that side of weakness. And both times, both wives didn't know how to quite answer me or respond. So it stayed in my heart, it stayed in my chest for so long. I dealt with that the best way I do, drinking and drugs.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll never forget when you won that gold medal. It was exciting to watch. What was it like to get that gold medal put around your neck?

LEONARD: That was the most amazing accomplishment of my life. That gold medal meant so much to me because it wasn't about money or fame. It was about me representing my country which was amazing. And bringing home that gold to Maryland, my home, words can't describe it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Even as a spectator watching you get it was really fun for the rest of us, too.

LEONARD: It was so special, Greta. My parents, they were so happy, so enthused. From then on, I was able to help my parents out financially also.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sugar Ray, congratulations on the new book. A lot of personal stuff in it, it has been fun to watch your boxing career now your new career writing. Thank you, Sugar Ray.

LEONARD: Thank you, Greta.