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01 Feb 2006 08:32
She may be a second-generation boxer, but if Laila Ali eventually has children, the world’s most famous woman fighter will discourage them from taking up the sport.
“I’m not encouraging anybody else’s kids,” she said. “So why would I encourage my own.
The daughter of Muhammad Ali concedes that the pull of the ring was her own fate as well as choice.
“I love to fight,” she said. “Boxing’s obviously in my blood, so I don’t have to work so hard to catch on to certain things, and I have very high expectations of myself. Only another fighter can understand.”
Ali’s comments came on the sidelines of Monday’s World Boxing Council’s Night of Champions in Cancun, Mexico, where she received the Female Boxer of the Year Award.
Ali, 22-0 since beginning her career in 1999, is in the middle of a world tour to promote herself and has a scheduled bout against an as-yet-unidentified opponent in Dubai on April 20.
Despite her expressed career choice for any future children, the 28-year-old light heavyweight admits she didn’t follow her father’s advice.
“Well he feels the same way,” she said with a slightly embarrassed laugh when asked if her father approved of her boxing.
“But it didn’t stop me in the beginning, and it won’t stop me now. So he’s happy I’m undefeated, I’m doing well, and he’ll also be happy when I retire.”
Still, she says if her kids really wanted to box, she wouldn’t prohibit them.
“If my kids wanted to fight, and they definitely wanted to do it, then of course I’d support them,” she said. “But I’d definitely not take them to the gym and try to put on the gloves—none of that.”
Ali says her plan is to stay undefeated and to make the most money she can.
“I’m not really sure how long I’ll continue in boxing ... as long as I stay motivated,” she said.
Her main goal now is to take on lady’s light heavyweight champion Ann Wolfe, but that will have to wait until Wolfe has shoulder surgery.
“Ann is shorter than me, but she has long arms,” she said. “She is tough and strong, but not the most skilled fighter, and she doesn’t have that great of a chin.
“People have complained that I haven’t fought Ann Wolfe. She’s really the biggest fight left out there for me. So obviously, you save the best fight to last. That is by design. It isn’t an accident.” - Sapa-AP
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