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Despite Being Legend Muhammad Ali’s Daughter, Spending 6 Months in Juvenile Was ‘The Best Thing That Ever Happened’ to Laila Ali

Published 01/04/2023, 12:30 PM EST

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Former middleweight champion and daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, Laila Ali, had a very turbulent childhood. Although she was the daughter of the most famous boxer in the world, she wasn’t too keen on living under his shadow. This was especially the case during her teenage years when she did things to defy her parents.

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Moreover, the former champion even detailed the time she spent 6 months in a juvenile home and how it was the best thing to have happened to her despite being the daughter of a very prominent man.


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Laila Ali details the time she spent in a juvenile home

In a podcast appearance back in 2020, Laila revealed that she spent over six months in a detention center. She also claimed that she actually needed to serve over a year, but came out only spending half that time.

I ended up in a group home in the program that I had to graduate. Most people don’t graduate they say you’re not you’re gonna be here for at least a year and I was like I cannot be here for you so then I got out I graduated in six months,” she said.


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‘Betrayed’ by Her Father’s Brothers, Laila Ali Struggled to Deal With Her Insecurities for a Long Time

This was not all as Laila ended up learning a lot during her time in the juvenile home, making her more independent and self-sufficient. In addition, she even revealed why this time was crucial for growth.

Laila reveals why spending 6 months in a juvenile home was the best thing for her

According to Laila, spending time in the detention center was a blessing in disguise for her. She stated that she got back on track in life and moved out of her house at the age of 15 after serving her time.


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Then I got back on track because I’d already gone to school to learn how to do nails and then I got my license. I moved out of the house and kind of never looked back. I was 15 and it was like the best thing that ever happened to me,” She said.

via Getty

While being the daughter of a legend like Muhammad Ali certainly came with its perks, for Laila her freedom was more important. She was a free spirit that refused to be caged and live behind her father. Moreover, she has managed to step out of his shadow and is currently a very successful businesswoman.


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Written by:

Sahil Sood


One take at a time

Sahil Sood is a Boxing writer at EssentiallySports. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication, and holds a keen interest in the 'sweet science'. His journey towards following boxing began when he first saw the highlights of Mike Tyson as a teenager, and then closely followed the rise of Floyd Mayweather.
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Edited by:

Shibu Immanuel