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Ali wins by a decision

She beats Frazier-Lyde in eight rounds in a battle of daughters of heavyweight greats.

[AP photos]
Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, left, deflects a punch from Laila Ali. They slugged it out almost incessantly.

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 9, 2001

VERONA, N.Y. -- Laila Ali scored a majority decision over Jacqui Frazier-Lyde on Friday night as the daughters of two of the sports's greats slugged it out for eight rounds at Turning Stone Casino.

Joe Frazier, left, father of Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, reacts as he watches his daughter fight Laila Ali on Friday.
Only Joe Frazier was at ringside -- Muhammad Ali had a prior commitment -- and he watched his oldest daughter fight a game fight.

This was easily the toughest bout either fighter had had in their brief careers. And it was fought at a fierce pace, with both slugging it out in the middle of the ring almost incessantly.

Frazier-Lyde stormed after Ali in the first round, intent on scoring a knockout. But Ali withstood the barrage and countered with several shots to Frazier-Lyde's head.

The second round produced more of the same, and it ended with both slamming each other toe-to-toe.

In the third, Ali stunned Frazier-Lyde with two hard lefts to the head, knocked out her mouthpiece and finished the round with a six-punch combination that staggered Frazier-Lyde some more.

Ali lands a punch to the head of Frazier-Lyde. Ali scored a majority decision over Frazier-Lyde after the full eight rounds.

But even though Frazier-Lyde, 16 years older at 39, appeared winded at the end of each round, she answered the bell every time with enthusiasm.

In the fourth, Ali landed a series of rights to Frazier-Lyde's head near the end of the round and in the fifth began dancing like her father. She even stopped and stared for a few seconds at her tiring foe, then landed a good left with 30 seconds left as she began taking control.

The sixth and seventh rounds were about even. Frazier-Lyde, her left eye swollen, tried gamely for a knockout in the eighth round, even wobbling Ali briefly with a hard left hand.

When the decision was announced, Joe Frazier entered the ring and hugged his daughter.

It was the first loss for Frazier-Lyde after seven straight knockouts. Ali remained unbeaten after 10 fights.

Judge Frankie Adams scored the fight 79-73 for Ali. Tommy Hicks had it 76-76. Don Ackerman had it 77-75 for Ali.

To prepare, Ali trained for the past month at 7,000 feet in Big Bear, Calif., to gain stamina. She weighed 1603/4 pounds. Frazier-Lyde, who has lost nearly 50 pounds since she began boxing, weighed 164.

In the other featured fight on the card, former WBC heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon, 235, lost a split decision to Monte Barrett, 224. The 43-year-old Witherspoon, one-time sparring partner of Muhammad Ali, dropped to 50-11-1. Barrett improved to 25-2.

The first real excitement of the evening came in the fourth undercard bout when super-middleweight Omar Sheika stopped Lionel Ortiz in the seventh round.

Sheika drew cheers when he backed Ortiz up against the ropes in the early rounds, then threw two rights to the face to knock him down at 2:21 of the round. The referee stopped the fight as Ortiz, dazed, staggered to his feet.

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