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Muhammad Ali's daughter Laila Ali praised the Mayweather family during her boxing Hall of Fame induction

Insider
Insider
 2022-06-15

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Muhammad Ali's fifth daughter Laila Ali.
  • Laila Ali was one of the biggest stars in attendance at boxing's Hall of Fame induction festivities last weekend.
  • In Verona, New York, she gave many speeches about her famous fighting father Muhammad Ali.
  • She also praised the Mayweather family.

VERONA, N.Y. — Laila Ali , the 44-year-old former fighter and daughter of boxing icon Muhammad Ali, shared stories of her legendary father and even lavished praise on the Mayweather family during her boxing Hall of Fame induction speech Sunday at the Turning Stone Resort Casino.

"I'm truly honored to be in the International Hall of Fame," she said. "I love boxing."

Laila's love affair with the sport wasn't directly because of her famous father Muhammad Ali, she said. But rather she credited the women who had been competing at the time she began showing interest in the sport.

She in fact started training in secret ahead of her pro debut at age 19. Muhammad, she claimed earlier in the weekend, opposed her getting into the sport. He apparently told her that boxing is not for her, and boxing is not for women .

She defied him, trained for her first fight anyway, and scored a first-round knockout win over April Fowler in 1999 at the Turning Stone casino in Verona — the same resort where she would accept her Hall of Fame induction 23 years later.

Backstage that night, Muhammad couldn't have been prouder of her debut. He told Laila that he was wrong about her, wrong about women's boxing, and started to cry. "He's sensitive like that," said Laila.

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Laila Ali during her acceptance speech at the Hall of Fame.

"All that confidence he had is really what got passed down to me," said Laila at the start of her speech. "The confidence of fighting, when he told me not to.

"I had to earn his respect in the ring."

Laila then turned to Floyd Mayweather , who was also enshrined at the Canastota museum nearby, alongside other legendary fighters like Roy Jones Jr., Wladimir Klitschko , and Bernard Hopkins.

"I have had the opportunity to work with amazing trainers, one of them being your uncle [Roger]," she said, turning to Floyd. "And your father," Floyd Mayweather Sr.

"The Mayweathers — I respect your family," she said.

Laila's husband also did not want her to fight for a living

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Laila Ali and Floyd Mayweather.

Laila then told a story about her second husband, Curtis Conway, a former wide receiver for the NFL's Chicago Bears and San Diego Chargers. They married in 2007 and have two children together.

"It's funny …. When we met, I just fought and had filed for divorce. It was time for me to go back to training camp," said Laila.

"He said, 'No, you want to go fighting? How much money you make? I'll just give you the money.'

"I was like, 'Babe, this is what I love. This is what I do.' I was doing it because I loved it. Boxing will always be my first love.

She kept her speech short and sweet, and as she left the microphone at the center of the stage and passed Floyd, the former five-weight male boxing champion could be seen laughing and applauding her as she returned to her seat.

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Laila Ali embraced Floyd Mayweather.

Laila had comforted Floyd Mayweather the night before.

At a banquet in the same venue, the fighters gave speeches and socialized in front of media.

Mayweather failed to hold back tears and cried before he could say one word.

Laila embraced him on the stage, whispered something in his ear, and then squeezed his biceps before getting him a napkin to dab his teary eyes.

"It really is an honor to be recognized along with so many amazing fighters and my father as well," Laila said at the banquet.

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