May 7, 2000
Recently, during Lennox Lewis' second-round annihilation of Michael Grant at Madison Square Garden, I had an opportunity to sit at ringside with the beautiful daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali. Lalia Ali is her name and she is seriously looking to find a place in women's boxing history.
At the age of 21, Lalia, began her pro-career with her father by her side on October 8, 1999 in Veronica, New York. It took Ali just 31 seconds to dispose of April Flower. Since then Ali has won her last six fights, including a four-round stoppage of Kristina King on April 22, in China.
Although she has had on six fights, Ali is currently building an impressive 6-0, 6KOs record. In each outing, Ali has shown nice footwork, straight and accurate punching technique. That, along with a fiery heart and passion to fight - similar to her father. In fact, Ali has already developed a reputation for taunting her foes - no harm done.
Ali was glad to discuss with this fight writer the focal point of women's boxing
Francis Walker: I'm sure by now that you realize that you are a major attraction not only for the boxing business, but for women's boxing as well. What is the primary focus for your professional career right now?
Lalia Ali: Just develop my boxing skills, mainly. That's what I'm focusing on. I'm still new at this, you know?
FW: Is there a particular female fighter that you are impressed with right now?
Ali: There's nobody out there that really impresses me. Actually, I did see a girl that fought Christy Martin in her last fight, [Belinda] Lauracuente. She had really good boxing skills I thought. She impressed me a little bit.
FW: I thought Laura did beat Christy Martin.
Ali: She did beat Christy Martin. That was plain to see. This is a business.
FW: Personally, from when I have watched Christy Martin, yeah she's a good fighter, but when you put her in against a boxer who knows how to stick and move and fight behind the jab…
Ali: That's no surprise to me. She's a tough fighter like you said. Everyone has a different style. She likes to fight and she's strong. She hasn't really developed her boxing skills, but that's just her style.
FW: Do you feel as though women's boxing needs one tremendous, one gigantic fight that would really put women's boxing out on the map? I'm talking about something more interesting than a woman fighting a man. Or with you being Ali's daughter would generate enough fans to support female boxing?
Ali: No, I think what it's going to take is for women, as individuals to learn how to box. Learn how to really develop their boxing skills. I don't think that any one fight can do it. I think that it is going to take more than just me. I can bring more people to watch women's boxing that normally would not watch it. That could be a start, but it's not going to be just me. Women's boxing cannot grow as a whole. How many times a year am I going to fight? There are other people that fans would want to see too. It's just going to take time.
FW: If you look at women's boxing I feel as though the wrong type of women are being marketed and advertised to set inside the ring. Female fighters like Mia St. John, who are models, guys don't want to se that! I mean we want to see the women who looks like the type can take on men.
Ali: That's just the way its going to be because, people are going to try to market what sells. A lot of people say about me that I'm just Muhammad Ali's daughter and I can't fight, but I know I can fight. So it's just going to take time. At this point enough people don't watch women's boxing. There are women who can fight, but if fans were interested in seeing them then a promoter would have picked them up and promoted them. Obviously, that is not what the people want to see at this point because, they don't take it seriously.
FW: Do you feel as though the promoters are doing enough for women's boxing?
Ali: I mean more can always be done, but that don't mean they will do more.