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JUST like old times with Ali taunting Frazier


VERONA, N.Y. (AP) _ The months of taunting are over. Madame Butterfly and Sister Smoke are set to go.

``I'm ready to get this over with,'' Laila Ali said as she prepared to meet Jacqui Frazier-Lyde in an eight-round bout Friday night at Turning Stone Casino. ``I can't wait. She's been doing a lot of talking about how I'm going to be running, so I'm just hoping that when I start busting her up side the head that she has another plan.''

``She's avoided me for so long,'' Frazier-Lyde countered. ``Laila's having nightmares of me. I'm not going to have a problem nailing Laila Ali's head. I know you're going to run, but I'm going to track you down.''

Seems like old times as the daughters of former heavyweight champions Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier rekindle what once was boxing's most bitter rivalry.

It's been 30 years since ``Smokin'' Joe Frazier won a brutal 15-round decision over Ali in ``The Fight,'' the first of their three memorable bouts, the last two won by Ali. The animosity that was created by Ali's punches and taunts never vanished

``Yeah, there's still bad blood,'' said trainer Lou Duva, now 79.

Whether the two men would travel to see their daughters fight remained in question. Frazier is expected to attend, but Muhammad Ali has a prior commitment with NASCAR in Michigan and probably will miss it, said his daughter.

The bout between the two unbeaten fighters has attracted substantial attention worldwide, with more than 300 media credentials issued. The attention has created a big payday _ each is expected to earn more than $100,000 _ and a lot of pressure, especially on Ali.

``The pressure's on me because I've got to look my best and do my best,'' she said. ``I have to be the dominant one by far, not just by a little bit.''

To get ready, she has been training for the last month at 7,000 feet to gain stamina for what could be the longest fight of her 20-month career.

The similarities to their famous dads are striking: Ali, of Los Angeles, is tall (5-foot-10) and slender, and has finessed most of her opponents in posting a 9-0 record with eight knockouts; Frazier-Lyde, of Philadelphia, is a bulldog who charges her opponents, flailing away at everything in her way. Both expected to weigh around 168 pounds.

``I know she's knocking herself out, but I'm going to take care of that for you, Laila,'' said Frazier-Lyde, who has won all seven of her pro fights by KO. ``When I step in the ring, I probably will break Laila's jaw. It's not going to be a problem. I'm going to cook that Ali-chicken girl. She's afraid of me.''

Age threatens to come into play. Frazier-Lyde, an attorney with three children, is 39. Ali is 16 years younger.

``I just don't feel that she's the same fighter I am,'' Ali said. ``She's horrible compared to me. I've progressed at a very fast level. But she's worthy of fighting me because she's in my weight class, she's a big girl, and she wants it.''

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