Laila Ali: ‘Different Than Anything I’ve Ever Done’

If you haven’t caught an episode of We Need to Talk, you need to.

Seriously, everyone is doing it.

“It’s fun,” former boxer and current We Need to Talk panelist Laila Ali said on The MoJo Show. “I enjoy all of the women, and of course we have a lot of down time. We’re getting to know each other, so I’ve made some new friends. So it’s interesting. It’s the first sports show I’ve ever been on, so I’m learning a lot as I go. I enjoy everybody. It’s definitely fun. It’s different than anything I’ve ever done before.”

It’s also different from anything we’ve seen before: all females, all talking sports.

“What’s most important is that we’ve got so many accomplished people – whether they’re men or women – in the world of sports,” Ali said. “I know it’s a women’s show, but we’ve got top-of-the-line everybody – all the way down to the producers and the directors. So I feel really at home there.”

The most surprising thing Ali has learned so far is, well, actually kind of surprising.

“Probably how much I don’t know about sports,” she said, laughing. “I’m just joking. I’m a world champion, an undefeated athlete. My father was a boxing champion. But it’s crazy. We did not grow up in our house watching sports because my dad wasn’t really a sports fan. Not that he didn’t like sports; he just didn’t really follow it. He was more into being an activist, philanthropy and everything that was going on in his world. Now that I’ve married (former NFL player) Curtis Conway, I just started really getting into sports – more so football than anything else.”

Ali, 36, also has two kids – ages 3 and 6 – so she doesn’t always catch every game, but she definitely stays up-to-date with current sporting events.

“Obviously we’re dealing with a lot of issues that aren’t sports, stats and things like that – but (rather), sports entertainment and things that are going on in the sports world,” Ali said. “So I definitely have my own viewpoint and opinion on that. But when it comes down to just the numbers and the teams and the colleges and all of that, I’m just kind of at a loss sometimes. But it’s fun because I have people around me who are really into it. That’s what they do for a living – these journalists and these sideline reporters and all that. We have a great team.”

Ali went 24-0 in her illustrious boxing career before retiring in 2007.

“Boxing is my first love,” she said. “The only reason I retired is because there just wasn’t any real competition for me in my weight class. There’s thousands of women that actually fight and they’re very talented, but women tend to be smaller. I mean, I’m 5-11, 180 pounds. There’s not that many women walking around that size. So it really made it hard for me to find match-ups that would inspire me to keep training at an elite level. So when it came time to hang up the gloves and start a family, it was an easy decision to make.”

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