Originally created 06/09/01

And the winner of Ali-Frazier IV is: Laila Ali



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

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 women 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.

But even though Frazier-Lyde, 16 years older, 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 just about even, and Frazier-Lyde, her left eye swollen, tried gamely for a knockout in the eighth and final 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 even at 76-76, and Don Ackerman had it 77-75 for Ali.

The bout attracted a great deal of attention worldwide, with more than 300 media credentials issued. It took place in an 8,000-seat tent promoters erected on a parking lot behind the casino, and just about every seat was filled at fight time.

All the attention also helped produce a nice return for the two women. Each was guaranteed a six-figure payday.

To prepare, Laila trained for the last month at 7,000 feet in Big Bear, Calif., to gain stamina. She weighed 160 3/4 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, of Philadelphia lost a split decision to Monte Barrett, 224, of New York. The 43-year-old Witherspoon, one-time sparring partner of Muhammad Ali, dropped to 50-11-1. Barrett improved to 25-2.