Report: Ali family denies champ failing

Mon Feb 4, 1:46 AM UTC

Muhammad Ali's brother said the legendary boxer's health has further declined, according to a British newspaper — but Ali's family countered the story Sunday by posting a Twitter picture of "The Greatest" looking alert, wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey and preparing to watch the Super Bowl, according to another report.

Rahman Ali, Muhammad's brother, reportedly said the former heavyweight champ, 71, can no longer speak or recognize him. He fears his brother may not survive the summer.

"He's in a bad way," he told The Sun (U.K.). "He's very sick.

"It could be months, it could be days. I don't know if he'll last the summer. He's in God's hands. We hope he gently passes away."

But the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky. — Ali's hometown — quoted family spokesman Bob Gunnell as saying the boxer and his wife Lonnie were at their home in Phoenix.

“He looks great,” Gunnell told the newspaper, referring to Ali. “He’s having a Super Bowl party."

The newspaper quoted Gunnell as saying the picture of Ali — posing with his fists raised amid a Ravens helmet and pennant — was posted on a "little used and yet to be widely discovered personal Twitter account for Ali," realALI_me.

Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984. His most recent public health scare came in 2011 when he was rushed to a hospital after falling unconscious, according to The Daily Mail.

Rahman Ali told The Sun that he'd rather see his brother pass away sooner than later so he can escape the slow suffering that the world has witnessed over the past two decades.

"He's going to heaven, there's no doubt," he reportedly said of Muhammad Ali. "If his funeral was tomorrow, all the statesmen of the world would turn up. He touched everyone from the rich to the poor.

"I love my brother over anybody. Of all the famous people who ever lived, he's the best. Everyone knows Muhammad Ali. He's up there with Jesus Christ."

Rahman Ali also reportedly said his brother would like to include a response to a Martin Luther King Jr. quote on his gravestone:

"I tried to love somebody, I did try to feed the hungry. I did try, in my life, to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. The Greatest," Rahman Ali told The Mail.

Muhammad Ali's 21-year boxing career came to an end in 1981 after losing to Jamaican-Canadian fighter Trevor Berbick. He finished with 56 wins and five losses.

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