Oprah and Laila Ali: Your Life in Focus


How are you doing? I don't know about you but I feel amazing. Okay with the dancing the meditation. And thank you so much oprah for inviting me here today. Thank you W. W. Thank you all for being here. I mean the energy in this room is so powerful because you have all chosen that you want to live a better life and you are doing starting today so as you know as you've heard I have many different titles right. My resume is pretty long but I have to tell you what I enjoy. Most is encouraging others to be the greatest version of themselves by replenishing your health your mindset and your purpose now. I was blessed to have the greatest teacher as a role model. Being Muhammad Ali daughter was truly a divine gift. It really is having him as an example shape me into the person that I am today now. My Dad had a tremendous amount of respect for himself and also for others. His courage and dedication were immeasurable when it came to standing up for people in doing what was right when. I was man thinking about them now when I was a child. He told me that boxing was his platform. It was just a job to do real work. He said boxing did not define him. He made sure that my siblings and I knew exactly how famous he was too. Oh yeah he's a say you can go anywhere in the world and people know me. Say this all the time. They don't have to know English. They don't even have to have television but they know the name Lee and he told me that it wasn't because he was the greatest inside the ring but it was what he was doing outside of the ring and I watched him doing it every day. Simply putting a smile on people's faces or free and Haas's I mean come on he did it all. My Dad always talked about how he wanted to be remembered. I remember this as a little child. It was so important to him and he was building his legacy according to his own standards. So as I became an adult his word led me to think about my own legacy. Here you are the daughter of Muhammad Ali. What are you going to do so I had an inherent desire to give back lift others as well and I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the world but I didn't know exactly how fast forward in time I was about. Eighteen years old going to school full time living on my own yes. I had a nel salon at the time I was doing nails. You ought to know that I do a good pedicure best massage you've ever had my husband knows it. I was very ambitious. One night I was at a friend's house getting ready to watch Mike Tyson fight. Y'All know who that is right. Yeah it was a heavyweight fight main event so we got our Popcorn Soda Pizza. We're getting ready to watch the fight. And all the sudden women walk into the ring and I was like. I had no idea that women's boxing even existed until that moment so I watched the fight and was it all the whole time. I went home that night. Dreaming about becoming a professional boxer myself. Well the next morning I woke up. You know we do. I started thinking I started thinking of all the reasons why shouldn't do it. I couldn't do it. I've never been an athlete had never participated in the sports of any kind in school. None no athletic background and then I really want to follow in the footsteps of the goat. I mean what I be able to do what it would take to become a boxer. I had no idea I had no idea what it would take. I wasn't that Little Girl in the gym with my father. Watching him I was my father had been done box and by the time I was old enough no exposure to any of this what people think and most of all what would my father think. I didn't think he would like it. I knew that so I talked myself out of it in a whole year went by before I decided to listen to the voice inside of me that just would not go away and I decided to give boxing try. Dr Found a local boxing gym and started training in secrecy. Yes I told everybody is like I'm just trying to lose weight. I'm just getting shape. Got About thirty pounds that I could stand to get off but in actuality I was testing the waters. I wanted to make sure that I had the natural talent and that I was going to be able to do what it would take to transform myself into a fighter and my goal was to be the best not just any fighter. I knew I want to be a world champion. I wanted to be undefeated so I went to the gym six nights a week after school and work every day. I walked in the gym excited. Eight PM never miss a day. And I worked the heavy bags speed bags shadow box and jump rope and I did it all. I mean my body was sore twenty four seven and I mean you know if any of you have ever done a Boston workout. You know what I'm talking about you find muscles that you didn't even know you had so I had to learn how to run which was something that I had never done before. My mom used to run about a mile a day. She's always very fit and she said come on. She took me to the beach and remember the first day she said. We're going to run for thirty seconds. We're going to walk for a minute. We're going to run for thirty seconds. Walked from it and we continue that interval until I could run for mile then eventually passed. I was running for two three four but she took me out there and just got me started and within about four months. I lost about thirty. Five pounds of body fat gained lean muscle and more importantly. I thought looked and felt like an absolutely different person. I had actually transformed myself into this fighter that I had the vision of so training to become a boxer was the hardest thing that I had ever done but I loved every moment of it because I kept that vision in my mind of the end result and I apply that to everything I do. Now that vision of me holding my hands up in the ring with those belts around my waist and that was my driving force throughout my entire Boston career. Once you get it you WANNA keep it so that was my vision so the news eventually got around that I was in the gym training and I remember. My father came in town and confronted me me and my father had about three really important conversations in life life changing conversations the change his life and mine and this was one of them he said. I hear your boxing. He's a True House. I Guess Dad. How's real confident? You know when my dad like I'm that one that last baby girl. I got a baby girl. Put me through the same thing right now. Lay all over again. I said is true. He said the whole world is going to be watching you and you have a light shining on you know much pressure. You're going to be under and I said yes that I've given it a lot of thought and I want to do it. Would you get knocked out or or get knocked down? I said I'm GonNa do what you did. Get backed up. My father grew more and more frustrated. Thank you grew more and more frustrated because he knew what I was saying was right but how he felt about. It was so strong so he said it. It's too hard. It's a man's sport in is not for you. I said I understand how you feel. But I've made my decision in his final. I had to do what was in my heart just like he did. And that's what I told him my heart so six months later I had my pro. Debut is my first time ever getting in the ring no amateur fights so you can imagine the pressure that was on me a young girl getting in ring for the first time with my father. Muhammad Ali in the audience eighty different media outlets my first fight ever waiting to see what I was going to do. So this was the moment to prove to my father to the world and most importantly to myself that I had become an athlete

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