Laila Amaria Ali (aka “She Bee Stingin”), born on December 30, 1977 in Miami Beach, Florida is hailed globally as the greatest female boxer of all time. She is the daughter of the greatest, professional heavyweight boxer (and philanthropist) of all time, the legendary Muhammad Ali, the eighth of her father’s nine children.
Ali, now 43, possesses a pristine and clean, 24-0 record, holding the WBC, WIBA, IWBF, and IBA Female Super Middleweight titles as well as the IWBF Light Heavyweight title in a career spanning 8 years, from 1999 to 2007.
In her childhood, she enjoyed the perks and privileges of being the daughter of a boxing icon. She grew up in a big mansion and used to fly on private jets as she traversed with her father around the globe. “We lived in a private, gated neighbourhood”, she said in a podcast interview for Kneading Dough, “I grew up in a mansion. We flew on private jets a lot of the time, and so it was very clear to me that my father was making a lot of money.”
Despite the luxurious life bestowed on her from the beginning, Laila was desperate to make a name for herself and to be financially independent. At the age of just 12, she started a neighbourhood cleaning business to make her own money.
She landed her first summer job at the age of 15 at a local burger spot which helped her become the proud owner of a ’77 Toyota Celica. “I can remember it was this brown rusty color, and it only cost me $400”, she reminisces about the car.
Ali’s journey into the boxing world began when she saw a fight with Christy Martin which inspired her to wear similar shoes. Father Muhammad wasn’t impressed by her daughter’s decision as he considered boxing to be a life-threatening sport.
Nonetheless, Ali at 5′ 10”, and weighing 166lbs (75kg) made her way into boxing with her first match against April Fowler of Michigan City, Indiana on October 8, 1999.
Laila Ali’s first match, as you can imagine, was so hyped, being attended by journalists whilst grabbing the riveted attention of fans being the daughter of an incomparable icon.
Another reason for the buzz was that the event also highlighted, for the first time, a male vs female fight (Hector Morales vs Margaret McGregor) sanctioned by the US Boxing Commission.
Womenboxing.com wrote, “The near-alignment of the two events focused more attention on female professional boxing than there has been since Christy Martin’s 1996 pay-per-view fight with Deirdre Gogarty.”
Aside from her boxing career, Laila Ali also made numerous TV appearances, for example, playing herself in an episode of The Jersey called “Bat Girl” in 2000, as well as featuring on the sitcom “One on One”.
In 2007, without having any prior dancing experience she appeared on season 4 of the popular show, “Dancing with the Stars” coming in an impressive third in the competition.
She also teamed up with WWE Hall of Famer, Hulk Hogan for the revival of the show “American Gladiators” in 2008. Her media adventures do not end there as Laila joined CBS as a contributing correspondent, hosting the show “All In” by the CBS Dream Team.
Laila has also been known for her work with “Hoops 4 Hope” (H4H), an international non-profit organization aiming to bring a positive influence to the lives of black, impoverished people in South Africa.
Laila Ali was inducted into the prestigious International Boxing Hall of Fame, Women’s Modern class this year alongside the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Andre Ward, and Ann Wolf.
Now you’ve got the back story on She Bee Stingin’, let’s get into this buzzing hotlist of her tremendous, dominating performances as we break down Laila Ali’s Top 5 Boxing Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Åsa Sandell – (Dec. 17, 2005)
Here, Laila Ali took on Swedish journalist and female super middleweight boxer, Åsa Sandell. The match was held at Max-Schemeling-Halle, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, Germany.
The first 2 rounds were well utilized by the Swede using her height as an advantage and connecting several times.
At 1:05 into round 3, Ali went right after Sandell, punishing her with a lightning quick jab to her nose. Åsa took a defensive approach to keep herself at bay from Ali’s onslaught. Ali throws a couple of jabs to Åsa’s chin and clinched as the referee separated them.
At the end of round 3, Ali assaulted Sandell with two, quick jabs right to her eyes. By this time, Sandell was exhausted by the intensity of the bout as she breathed, open- mouthed, gasping for air at the side of the ring.
In round 4, at 1:25, Laila rained high intensity jabs on Sandell who moved backwards to keep herself again out of harm’s way. Sandell tried to fight back by hurling hooks and punches on Ali, but there was a huge speed and power differential between the two.
In round 5 at 1:30, Sandell struck Ali with left-right jabs whilst moving forward, and Ali, sensing an opportunity threw a quick right jab that landed. Now, Ali, with all guns blazing began to ratchet up her offense by dispatching ravaging punches and jabs, bringing visible damage to Åsa’s face.
By this point, referee Josef Temml had seen enough as he calls the bout at 1:51 of round 5. Laila Ali won the match via KO.
4. Vs. Suzette Taylor (Aug. 17, 2002)
Laila Ali took on Suzy Taylor, (the IBA Super Middleweight Champion) for the championship, at the Aladdin Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Taylor made the first move as she closed the distance with Ali, looking to taste first blood. At 0:45 into round 1, Ali ducked under Taylor’s hook and hurled a quick right hand to her chin.
At 1:30, Laila unleashes a barrage of serious, left-right hand jabs on Taylor while the crowd goes wild, getting behind Ali, and cheering louder with each shot.
At the start of round 2, Taylor attacks Ali with a couple of left hooks, and at 0:50, Laila retaliates with her trademark ferocious right and left hand jabs, and ruthless hooks as Taylor grimaces in pain at the side of the ring.
At 1:10, seeing that Taylor is unable to continue any further, the referee intervenes to call the stop. Laila was declared the winner via KO and by dethroning Suzy Taylor, was crowned the new IBA Super Middleweight Champion
3. Vs. Shelley Burton – (Nov. 11, 2006)
Laila Ali defended her WBC and WIBA super middleweight titles against Shelly Burton from Montana, USA. It took place at the same venue, (Madison Square Garden, NYC) where her father had the historic “Fight of the Century” match against Joe Frazier, 50 years ago in 1971.
In the opening seconds of round 1, Burton aims to pick up the momentum early by closing the distance and inflict early damage on Laila. She throws left and right jabs to which Ali reacts quickly, moving away toward the side of the ring. Ali looked calm and composed from the beginning, mentally mapping out her opponent’s strategy.
Seeing an opening at 1:45, Ali pounded a heavy right-hand to Burton’s face as the two brawled in the last few seconds of the round. Ali looked firm in her approach, relying more on striking her opponent with left hand jabs and solid punches.
At 1:05 into round 2, Ali punishes Shelley with a plethora of right and left hand punches as her defense moat falls apart. Ali defends an onslaught by Shelley by tightly holding her gloves to her head as to render those moves obsolete. Ali then traverses the ring from one point to the other, her side-on stance giving her decidedly better focus on her opponent.
In round 4, at 1:56, as Laila rains an exhibition of right, and left hand jabs upon Burton’s face, who ducks down to save herself from the assault, the referee intervenes to call the match.
Laila Ali successfully defended both her titles at Madison Square Garden.
2. Vs. Erin Toughill – (June 11, 2005)
This match was fought at the MCI Centre, Washington DC for the WIBA/WBC Women’s World Championships. Ali was defending her WIBA Super Middleweight title and also fighting to grab the first, inaugural WBC, Female Super Middleweight title against the American fighter and actress Erin Toughill (who had appeared as a gladiator on the “American Gladiator” series).
To start, Erin charged towards Ali delivering a couple of punches to her core before hurrying back to her space. At 15 seconds in, Ali ran a blitzkrieg of high velocity left and right arm jabs on Erin while adjusting her stance.
In the final 10 seconds of the round, Ali charged forward with nerves of steel, displacing her opponent to the side of the ring whilst raining down punches with almost unbelievable speed and power. Ali’s hand speed was proving just too much for Erin.
At 0:38 into round 2, Ali pounds a massive left hand upper hook, following it up with a couple of jabs as Erin found herself in a precarious position. Though Erin fought back, her punches weren’t making any headway on Ali.
In round 3, at 0:10 in, Ali’s aggression reached its peak as she went after her opponent with hard-striking jabs. With short, left arm jabs and punches Ali basically ‘manhandled’ her opponent with each passing second.
The last 15 seconds of the round saw Ali go ‘berserker mode’ on Erin with a brutal thudding jab to the nose sending shivers down her spine as she tore down her quarry with countless, ruthless punches leaving her bleeding profusely. The referee finally intervened at 1:59 with Ali winning the match by KO.
1. Vs. Jacqui Frazier-Lyde – (June 8, 2001)
The daughters of the legendary boxers Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier locked horns in a fight billed as “Ali-Frazier IV” by media, alluding to their fathers’ famous fight trilogy (which took place in 1971, 1974, and 1975), where Muhammad Ali gained the upper hand. Interestingly, this was the first pay-per-view card headlined by women in the history of boxing.
The 8-round fight took place at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y.
As the referee gave instructions before the fight, both fighters were casting venomous looks, assuredly the fight was on a personal level here.
As the bell rang, all chaos broke out inside the ring with both fighters going ruthlessly at each other with jabs and hooks flying from both sides.
At 0:28 into round 1, Laila Ali pounded a vicious right-hand hook, grabbing “Sister Smoke” Frazier whilst exacting short-hand jabs, as the referee came steaming in to separate the two fighters.
Ali, out of nowhere, smashes a left hook taking Frazier by surprise who then points at Ali with retribution smoldering in her eyes.
The referee got things under control and the match took off again. Now Frazier kept her posture erect, rocking Ali with ferocious left hand jabs and upper cuts as Laila closed the distance and also kept punching. The crowd was on their feet witnessing a rare moment – two of the greatest, undefeated female boxers taking each other apart!
In round 2, the brawl continued as Frazier and Laila thrashed it out with merciless hard-hitting strikes. Close to a minute in, Ali lands two left hand jabs on Sister Smoke who relentlessly goes after Ali to pound her head and core with some solid jabs.
Laila aimed at Frazier’s face and got in more accurate shots, overriding Frazier’s defense. It was a ruthless brawl stretching to 8 rounds, and witnessing Ali’s full array of frenzied jabs whilst Frazier laid on those legendary left hooks.
One of the most storied rivalries in sports ended as Ali nabbed the majority decision victory over Sister Smoke. This was a thriller for the pugilistic ages, intensified by personal rivalry. Don’t miss a moment!