Skip to main content
Original Issue

Laila Ali

The undefeated boxer (she's 10-0) whose
autobiography-cum-self-help book Reach! hits bookstores this
month, sparred with us before her June 7 fight against Shirvell
Williams in Memphis.

SI: Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to box
your father in his prime?

Ali: I would get my ass beat.

SI: You're very honest in the book about the strained
relationship you had with your father. Have you come to peace
with your childhood?

Ali: Some people will read my book, judge my dad and say, "I
thought he'd be an ideal dad." But I love the way I turned out,
so I can't fault him.

SI: How would you classify the relationship today?

Ali: Pretty much the same as it's always been. Me and my dad are
so much alike that it keeps us from getting close. We both have
very hard heads, and we do what we want to do.

SI: Your first fight was against a waitress [April Fowler]. Did
you ever think about fighting a maitre d' or a short order cook
for your second fight?

Ali: Did you know that I was a manicurist when I had my first
fight? Put that in your article. She was a waitress; I was a

SI: Between Stevie Wonder, John Travolta and Michael Jackson,
which famous visitor was the coolest to meet as a kid?

Ali: Michael Jackson.

SI: Why?

Ali: Because we were trying to figure out why he talked like a

SI: You say you're more like a cat than any other animal. How so?

Ali: Because I'm independent, confident and sure of myself. I
don't give a damn, and that's how my cats are.

SI: Do fighters really give up sex before a fight?

Ali: If they're planning on being successful fighters, then,

SI: How many more years do you plan to box?

Ali: Two or three.

SI: So without ever having met me, do you think you could kick my

Ali: Probably, by the sound of your voice.

--Richard Deitsch