Laila Ali made her ring debut on October 8, 1999, at the Turning Stone Casino Convention Center on the Oneida Indian Nation, in Verona, New York.
Mary Ann Owen and TL Fox were covering the Hannah "The Vegas" Fox vs. Fredia "The Cheetah" Gibbs, January 15, 1999, when Ali got center stage in the ring, when the ring announcer introduced Laila. The crowd roared when it was announced that she was going to start boxing. The prospect of having a daughter of one of the most famous boxer's in the world fight, was something many thought would give women's boxing the punch it needed to get in the main stream.
The anticipation of Laila Ali making her pro debut was an understatement. She received more press than any other woman boxer, other than the Diedre Gogarty vs. Christy Martin fight in 1996, when they outclassed the main event - Tyson on that card, and the mixed match between Margaret MacGregor vs Loi Chow, that were fighting one night after Laila's pro debut!
Unfortunately, the October 8th debut, received a lot of bad press and disappointment. Photographs of Laila's opponent, looked more like April Fowler should be stepping into a weight loss clinic, not a ring. It did not take a boxing expert to figure out that Fowler was no match for any boxer - whether the fighter was making a pro debut or not!
After Laila's pro debut, she told the press that she did her father "proud." She also said that she would knock out every one of her opponent's and that it was a promise.
On March 7, 2000 in Windsor, Ontario Laila remained unbeaten as she scored a first round knockout of Crystal Arcand in a scheduled four-round bout at the Casino Windsor. She is now 4-0 (4KO). Her fight with Arcand lasted 70 seconds. Ali came out aggressively from the opening bell and floored Arcand, who was making her pro debut. Go here for a complete report about Laila
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