As if it were 1973 again, " Ali! Ali! Ali!" by a crowd of 9,888 in Biloxi, Miss., last Saturday. What had been billed as the biggest bout in the short history of women's boxing turned out to be a classic Ms.-match. A decade younger and with a 5�-inch edge in reach, Laila Ali knocked out prizefighting pioneer Christy Martin in the fourth round to retain her IBA super middleweight title and run her record to 16-0.
Though she had fought only once in the previous 21 months, the 35-year-old Martin claimed to have trained hard for Ali. "It ticks me off that she rode her father's coattails to get a fight with me," Martin said before the bout. Countered the champ, "Christy has anger-management problems. She's just a white hope. I'll whup her like she was my daughter." Good golly, Miss Ali!
The whupping was worth $250,000 to the Greatest's daughter, who plans to fight a few more times, then retire. "I am women's boxing," Ali said. "Most women don't appreciate what I've accomplished. They will when I'm gone."