LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) - Laila Ali received a hometown welcome as she held a public workout in preparation for her bout Friday on the undercard for
the Mike Tyson-Danny Williams fight.
Louisville proudly claims three-time heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali as a native, and fans on Monday gave his daughter an exuberant welcome. They
cheered, chanted her name, took pictures of her and asked for autographs.
Five-year-old Dominik Powell screamed "Laila Ali!" throughout her shadow boxing routine held outside in the city's Fourth Street downtown
"I hear you," Ali said, continuing to punch her imaginary opponent. "I hear you."
Ali did several rounds of shadow boxing and sparring with a trainer, punching a trainer's padded mitts.
Ali (17-0, 14 KO) will defend her WIBA world super middleweight title against Monica Nunez (9-1, 5 KO) in Louisville's Freedom Hall on Friday.
Tyson (50-4, 44 KO), the former heavyweight champion, will fight Britain's Danny Williams (31-3, 26 KO) in the headline match of the night.
Tyson and Williams will hold public workouts Tuesday, have a press conference Wednesday and be weighed in Thursday.
Some fans cheered Laila Ali like it was her dad working out. They chanted, "Ali boma ye," - which means "Ali, kill him" - as fans in Zaire did when
Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman there in 1974.
"I know that people want me to look like my dad," Laila Ali said. "I know it's a little disappointing to some people. They're all yelling 'Do the Ali
Shuffle.' It's like, 'I don't do the Ali Shuffle."'
The workout was to promote the fight as much as to let the fighters train. More than 6,000 tickets are still available, promoter Chris Webb said.
"All along I've said this is about the people of Louisville," he said. "What other better than to back up my word and to bring Laila Ali and to bring
Mike Tyson right in the center of downtown Louisville for free."
Ann Holland, 36, who has lived in Louisville for two years, said she appreciated Laila Ali honoring her ties to the city.
"It's just very interesting to me that she would choose boxing," she said. "And she's beautiful. She's an awesome athlete."