Boxing icon Muhammad Ali‘s camp has come forward to clear up reports about him rooting for fighter Manny Pacquiao in his upcoming bout against Floyd Mayweather, Jr..
Ali’s publicist issued a statement to deny picking sides in the publicized match Thursday (April 2).
“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.” (Statement)
Ali’s daughter Rasheda has come forward to address the controversy.
We just spoke with Rasheda …. who told us she stands by her original statements — saying, “Everything in your [TMZ Sports] original story is an absolute fact.” “It was extremely accurate. It was exactly what I said to the word.” “Honestly, truthfully, everything I said was true. He is a fan of Manny.”
Rasheda adds, “For political reasons, or other reasons, or because my dad didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, Lonnie [Muhammad’s wife] didn’t want him to pick a side.” (TMZ)
This week, Rasheda revealed her dad was rooting for Manny specifically for his contributions outside of boxing.
“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.” (TMZ Sports)
According to recent reports, rap star 50 Cent may bet over $1.5 million for Mayweather to win against Manny in their May 2 bout.
50 Cent went on “The Breakfast Club” on New York’s Power 105.1 FM Tuesday morning to report the two are on speaking terms again after meeting by chance at a Chris Brown show earlier this month. Not only that, but 50 Cent boasted he plans to bet $1.6 million on Mayweather to beat Manny Pacquiao when the two are scheduled to fight on May 2 in Las Vegas. “Champ gonna smoke him,” 50 Cent said, referring to Mayweather, who holds both the WBC and WBA welterweight titles. 50 Cent then went on to describe Mayweather as “super focused,” and said, “It’s gonna look like [the fight] was pumped up for no reason.” (CBS Local)