Laila Ali hasn’t fought for well over a decade and has since moved into other arenas as a businesswoman, wife, and mother, but it appears she might be ready to lace them up again. Ali has been noticing the chatter around current light and middleweight champion Claressa “T-Rex” Shields and said she’ll get back in the ring but only for the right number.
Sitting down with ESPN’s First Take crew, Ali, the daughter of the late, great Muhammad Ali, joined the panel as they discussed the upcoming fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. Ali wisely observed that the highly anticipated match is breathing new life into the heavyweight division in men’s boxing while also sharing her insights on the women’s side of the sport.
Stephen A. Smith didn’t let Ali leave the segment without mentioning the possibility of her returning to the ring, and she understood where the host was going with the prodding. Essentially, Ali has heard the challenges from the 10-0 Shields, who is 24 while Ali is 42, and much bigger and taller than the young but talented upstart and Olympic gold medalist.
Ali said that if the purse is hefty enough that she’ll consider the fight plus she wants to silence the barking Shields has been doing for months now. Shields, having seen the segment after it started to go viral, took to Twitter and said that the money is there so now it’s time to put up or shut up. If it does come to fruition, this could have all the makings of a super fight for the ages.
Your move, Laila Ali.
Check out Ali considering the Shields challenge below. Hop to the 6:00-minute mark to hear that portion of the chat.