The Alis Come To Town

-A +A

(Laila Ali is the Real Deal). 

They said her fight was the CO-main event.

Yet they weren't going to show it on television. But in an HBO first, they would show stop action clips. It was a 10-rounder although only two minutes a round. And a lot of the old guard and boxing's elite wanted to see the fight. And yes, Muhammad Ali, her legendary father and the, "Greatest," was coming to the fight to see her on this Saturday night.

Yes, Laila Ali brings a crowd, stirs a crowd and can really fight. Tim Smith, of the New York Daily News and boxing's top scribe here and one of its best of all times, states that her genes have produced in her abilities that are  men-like. "She throws straight punches," Smith says, with admiration. He salutes her defense too. I might add, she's a man I wouldn't mind having as my woman.

The way it really looked last Saturday was Ali, and that legendary name, were the main event and focus factor at the Garden, boxing’s Mecca. "Oh the magical nights he brought here," the legendary artist, LeRoy Neiman whispered into my ear as we watched Ali with his lovely wife Lonnie and legendary friend, photographer Howard Bingham, get seated at ringside just minutes prior to his daughter's clash. Lonnie Ali, UCLA graduate, remarked to LeRoy and me, that she had never seen the champ so excited before. "It is always great to have him here and have him see me fight," his lovely world champion daughter said after her fourth round TKO victory.

She looked great too and we are not just talking about her looks and figure. She hadn't been in the ring in over 11 months, yet showed no ring rust.

She had zeal to win and kill. "I wanted to knock her out cold," she said of her opponent, Shelly Burton, who saw her record drop to 8-4, and was saved from any further punishment when the referee, Arthur Mercante, Jr., halted the bout. Ali retained her undefeated record and WBC Middleweight title with the 1:58 of the fourth round stoppage. In an ironic twist of history, Mercante, Jr., is the son of Arthur Mercante, Sr., the referee who was the third man in the ring for the first Ali-Frazier I bout, March 8,1971. History is funny. Mercante Sr., was seated right behind the Muhammad Ali's entourage.

Her dad left the arena to chants of, "Ali, Ali.� Any time he enters a building it is special. Then you add his lovely daughter—what a night at the temple of boxing.


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