Laila Ali fights through Father's Day without her dad
He’s the Greatest — dad.
As Laila Ali prepares for Father’s Day without her dad, boxing legend Muhammad Ali, she says the former champ “still lives with me every day.”
“I miss him, but I am finding comfort in knowing he is in a better place now,” she said of her fleet-footed dad, who suffered from Parkinson’s for years before he succumbed last June. “He was sick for a long time so it is something you mentally prepare yourself for.”
The boxing legend “will never be forgotten,” says Laila, the eighth of Muhammad’s nine children. “People come up to me every single day talking about my father, and I don’t mind that.”
The host of the show “Laila Ali Lifestyle” on PodcastOne, Laila — a former boxing champ in her own right who retired from the ring in 2007 with a record of 24-0 — is spending a lot of time in the kitchen these days, honing recipes for a cookbook she’s planning to dish up next January.
The book will revolve around “comfort food, with a healthy twist,” says Ali. “Things that you love and want to eat but prepared in a healthy way, with better ingredients.”
Instead of focusing on calorie-cutting, “It’s about eating food that your body can process and gaining nutrition, which is vital for every cell — every cell needs feeding, from your brain to your hair. We want you to be putting nutrition in your body.”
Laila and Muhammad Ali and her late, great father hosted the U.S. Premiere of “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” at Muhammad Ali Center on October 2, 2013 in Louisville, Ky.
(Michael Hickey/Getty Images for HBO)
Ali herself must need a decent calorie intake to fuel her various pursuits — a lifelong go-getter, who started working as a manicurist at 15 and owned a nail salon at 18, she likes to keep busy. The mom of two and stepmom of three has launched a line of beauty products, hosted the revival of “American Gladiators” alongside Hulk Hogan, was a correspondent on CBS’ “The Early Show,” made a series of boxing videos with Sugar Ray Leonard, hosted the morning show “All In with Laila Ali” for NBC, competed on “Dancing with the Stars,” “Chopped” and “The New Celebrity Apprentice,” appeared on “Celebrity Wife Swap” and written a motivational memoir, “Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit and Personal Power.”
For now, the cookbook is her main project. While Ali can’t pick a favorite dish, she has one combo guaranteed to knock out hunger.
“There are so many things it would be hard to say,” Ali pondered before splitting her decision between her seafood gumbo and creole oven fried chicken.
With James Desborough