Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: Spokesperson Says Muhammad Ali Hasn't Picked Winner

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2015

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As we edge ever closer to the showpiece fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, expect plenty from the boxing stratosphere to weigh in with their favoured fighter. But there are few picks that will generate greater intrigue than that of legendary heavyweight Muhammad Ali.

ESPN's Dan Rafael provided a statement from Ali family spokesman Bob Gunnell, who denied reports that Ali is backing Pacquiao in the upcoming fight:

It was reported that Muhammad Ali picked a favorite in the upcoming Mayweather-Pacquiao fight on May 2. Muhammad Ali would like to wish both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao well in their upcoming fight.

Muhammad never offered to anyone his prediction and information that was published earlier this week and picked up by other media is either a misquote or someone else's personal opinion. The stories saying that Muhammad Ali has chosen a favorite in the fight are false.

TMZ previously reported Ali's daughter Rasheda said her father was backing Pacquiao ahead of the showdown: "My dad is Team Pacquiao all the way! My dad really likes Manny. He's a huge fan of his. He knows Manny's a great fighter...but it's more about what he does outside the ring. He's such a charitable person."

Rafael reported on Thursday that this was actually a misquoted comment from Ali, not his daughter.

LINDA SPILLERS/Associated Press

As noted by The Guardian, Pacquiao and Ali have been close for a long time. Indeed, it's also noted in the piece that the Filipino sensation was a guest at the former world heavyweight champion's 70th birthday party back in 2012.

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Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, seems to have little doubt that his man can pull off a win:

According to The Telegraph, Ali's battle with Parkinson's disease will prevent him from attending the bout in Las Vegas. For a fight quite as significant as this, his not being at ringside will be a real shame.

But of all those figures who will pledge their support to Money or Manny ahead of the May 2 scrap, there are few whose support will carry quite as much clout as that of a man who boasts a genuine case to be considered the greatest fighter of all time.


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