BOXING great Muhammad Ali has denied he has picked sides in the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight on May 2 (May 3, Manila time).
TMZ Sports earlier reported that the legendary boxer was rooting for Pacquiao based on an interview with Ali's daughter Rasheda.
Ali's publicist released the following statement on Thursday (Friday, Manila time):
"Earlier this week 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. Muhammad has the utmost respect for both fighters who will undoubtedly give boxing fans an incredible match. He believes the significance of this fight will rival other historic matches. Muhammad Ali will join the rest of the world on May 2 to watch this match-up."
In an interview with TMZ, Rasheda Ali said “My Dad is Team Pacquiao all the way."
She added, "My Dad really likes Manny. He’s a huge fan of his.”
In one of sports' most memorable fights, Muhammad Ali fought one of his greatest bouts in the Philippines. Ali beat 'Smokin' Joe' Frazier in the classic ‘Thrilla in Manila’ on October 1, 1975 at the Araneta Coliseum.
Ali, who is battling Parkinson's Disease, is not planning to watch the bout in person but will definitely see it on pay-per-view.