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Muhammad Ali Family Denies Reports of Declining Health

February 4th, 2013 at 11:00 AM
By Sharon Scrima

'Muhammad Ali vs. Ernie Terrell, Houston Astrodome, Houston, TX, 1967' photo (c) 2010, Cliff - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. did not announce his May 4 opponent last night during Super Bowl XLVII as had been previously rumored. Rumors were also circulating yesterday with respect to boxing legend Muhammad Ali heading into the big game.

The Daily Mail reported on Sunday that the great Ali 'could be dead in days' as warned by his brother, Rahman Ali. This was on the heels of an earlier story in the British tabloid The Sun where Rahman revealed a family feud had allegedly been fueled by the former heavyweight champion's wife Lonnie that kept him from having any contact with the family. The 71-year old Ali has been suffering from Parkinson's Disease since 1984, looking particularly thin and frail at the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony where he required help by Lonnie to cross the stage.

Rahman told The Sun he feared his brother, whom he reportedly has not seen since last July at the Sports For Peace Gala in London and now only speaks to via phone, would not survive the summer.  

This triggered widespread concern for "The Greatest" by his countless fans and the story was reported by certain outlets leading up to the Super Bowl.

Family spokesman Bob Gunnell subsequently denied the reports and assured the public of Ali's current medical state by releasing a photo of the beloved fighter at his home in Phoenix decked out in Baltimore Ravens gear while watching the big game. 

Daughter Leila Ali provided additional reassurance last night by tweeting another photo of her famous father enjoying the game.

Other daughter May May Ali also denied the reports.

"He's fine, in fact he was talking well this morning," May May said of her father in a telephone interview with The Associated Press yesterday. "These rumors pop up every once in a while but there's nothing to them."

Conflicting reports were also circulated last Fall involving the medical condition of Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward who subsequently passed away in October. His sister Diane Steward-Jones publicly denied initial reports that her brother was suffering from colon cancer.

Boxing 101 will report on any further developments if they become available.

Ali likely enjoyed the game last night as the Ravens held on to win a wild Super Bowl XLVII by the score of 34-31 that included a power outage lasting over 30 minutes at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Boxing, Muhammad Ali, Rahman Ali, Super Bowl XLVII

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