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Laila Ali: My Dad Tried To Talk Me Out Of Becoming A Boxer

And it wasn't even his career that made her want to step into the ring in the first place.

She might be the daughter of a boxing legend, but Laila Ali says her famous father had nothing to do with her decision to become a fighter.

Speaking with "Oprah: Where Are They Now?", Ali shattered the assumption that Muhammad Ali's career choice was the big factor that influenced her own.

"I actually didn't have the idea to even step into the ring until I saw women's boxing on television for the first time," Ali says. "I mean, they walked out of the ring with blood all over them and everything, and I was like, 'That's for me! I want to do that.'"

[My father] did everything he could to try to talk me out of it, indirectly. But it didn't work.

Ali began training quietly after school and after work, but her presence didn't go unnoticed. 

"Of course, it got around. I mean, Muhammad Ali's daughter's in the gym. People are asking me, 'Are you going to fight?' and I'm like, 'No, I'm just trying to lose weight,'" Ali says.

It wasn't entirely untrue.

"I needed to lose about 30 pounds. You know, I wasn't an athlete before I started boxing," she points out. "I had to work my way up." 

Laila Ali, now retired from boxing, went undefeated during her fighting career.
Laila Ali, now retired from boxing, went undefeated during her fighting career.

Soon enough, word got around to Ali's father. He asked her point blank if she was fighting, and Ali told him the truth: Yes, she was.

"He did everything he could to try to talk me out of it, indirectly," Ali says, flashing a smile. "But it didn't work."

"Oprah: Where Are They Now?" airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

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