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Ali in Manny’s ‘corner’

Muhammad Ali, Sergio Martinez

Muhammad Ali is reportedly backing Manny Pacquiao against Floyd Mayweather in their May 2 world welterweight title unification in Las Vegas, according to celebrity gossip website TMZ.

“My dad is Team Pacquiao all the way,” said Rasheda Ali, noting that while The Greatest won’t be at ringside at the MGM Grand, he will be getting a PPV subscription. “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.”

Rasheda continues that his father has nothing but respect for the 38-year-old and undefeated Mayweather “but says he (Mayweather) and Muhammad are two very different people.”

Pacquiao has a special place in the 73-year-old Ali’s heart, having attended the three-time heavyweight champion’s 70th birthday.

Ali, the 1960 Rome Olympics gold medalist, captured sport’s most coveted individual title three times and figured in the most unforgettable bouts in history.

Ali’s most bitter rival was the late Smokin’ Joe Frazier although he also faced and beaten George Foreman, Leon Spinks, Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers and Sonny Liston in a career that spanned more than 20 years.