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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Boxers Laila Ali and Claressa Shields walk onstage at the 37th Annual Salute To Women In Sports Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on October 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Women's Sports Foundation )

Forty-two-year-old undefeated boxing champ Laila Ali recently said that she would come out of retirement to fight 24-year-old undisputed female middleweight champion of the world Claressa Shields.

Ali sat down for an interview on ESPN‘s “First Take” show and explained why. “She’s been calling me out. She’s taken offense to some things that I said in the past that had nothing to do with her, and people are asking me, ‘Would you come back?’,” Ali shared.

“Well, I have to be inspired by the opponent. I have to be inspired by the purse because I have multiple things going on, multiple streams of income. I don’t have to do it. I have to want to do it.”

Laila Ali, Muhammad Ali, and Claressa Shields

PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 13: Former boxing champion Muhammad Ali (C) waves to the crowd after being presented with the 2012 Liberty Medal, along side with his daughter Laila Ali (L), wife Lonnie Ali (2nd L), sister-in-law Marilyn Williams (Center R), and U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists Clarissa Shields (2nd R) and Susan Francia (R) during a ceremony at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall on September 13, 2012 in Historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The National Constitution Center’s 2012 Liberty Medal ceremony recognized Muhammad Ali as a champion of freedom and a living embodiment of the Constitution who exemplifies everything the award was established to honor. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

“Is she an inspiring opponent?” Ali was then asked. The champ who is the daughter of Muhammad Ali, replied, “Of course, absolutely, especially that mouth because when it’s personal that starts a fire.”

“I haven’t boxed in 13 years. I’m saying that there is definitely a possibility and I’m open to that possibility if the money is right. And when I say right, remember no woman has made even a million dollars including me. So if I couldn’t do it back then, we have to know that it has to be a promoter who has a vision and an understanding that this fight could be bigger and transcend boxing,” Ali explained.

“Because I’m going to bring the star power. You have an amazing athlete in Claressa Shields with a lot of heart, and she has been calling me out. She’s been calling me out since last year and she has taken offense to me responding.”

While responding to a fan on Twitter, Shields said that Ali will “have to learn the hard way.” “Cause I’m gonna hurt her! I’m tired of the talking and her hating! FIGHT ME! I’m gonna show her why they call me the GWOAT! Let’s go!” Shields continued on while responding to another fan.

It seems as if a lot of fans of Ali are totally for the idea of Ali coming out of retirement to fight the Flint, Michigan native. Laila Ali’s name began trending on Twitter once First Take tweeted the clip. Shields fans seem to be for it as well. Check out some of the fan responses below.


Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter @GlennishaMorgan.