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Muhammad Ali

HUGE BASKETBALL FAN

... Rooting for Kentucky

4/7/2014 1:51 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0407_ali_instagramThe University of Kentucky has a huge fan pulling for them in tonight's NCAA Championship Game -- Muhammad Ali ... who, it turns out, is a HUUUGE basketball fan ... TMZ Sports has learned.

We spoke to two-time boxing champ Andre Berto who spent time with Ali this past weekend at the legend's home in Arizona. 

Berto says he was invited over by a mutual friend -- and says it was one of the greatest days of his entire life. 

"I told him how honored I was to meet him. I told him I appreciate him for giving me the inspiration and motivation to be a boxer."

The two spent hours hanging out -- with Ali dishing out all sorts of pearls of wisdom about life such as, "Stay focused on the task" and "Don't worry about the outside noise."

But the highlight, Berto says, was when they all gathered in front of the TV and watched the Final 4 championship games. 

Berto says Ali and his family are BIG TIME college basketball fans and were "cheering left and right" for Kentucky. For the record, Ali hails from the Bluegrass State ... and Berto says he's certainly rooting for UK in tonight's championship game. 

"It was definitely one of the greatest moments in my life," Berto says ... "Probably the greatest moment in my boxing life. To feel those hands, see those hands ... to feel that history. I think I got some of that good energy."

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!
125 COMMENTS

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31.

STFU    

Ali looks horrible

166 days ago
32.

STFU    

How many strokes has he had? #JustAsking

166 days ago
33.

Gary    

I thought this was Smokey Robinson he looks so different.

166 days ago
34.

jason    

HE CALLED A BLACK MAN a monkey because he was darker skinned then him. He was a total ahole. Also the roper dope very unsportsmen like. He should have been disqualified for refusing to fight back. You cant just sit on the ropes and not throw any punches. What if both boxers decided to employ this so called tactic . There would be no fight. Letting the other guy pound you untill he is out of gas was his legacy. I the time everyone thought he was so smart but looking back I say not so much. Ref should have called the fight when he refused to fight back.

166 days ago
35.

Vote2012    

Good man he was a class act and a real pro not like we have today in pro sports.

166 days ago
36.

I don't know why I even go on here.     

He looks like he is really sad and in a lot of pain in his eyes. I wish the best for him

166 days ago
37.

Whatever    

If TMZ had any respect for Muhammad Ali and his health condition, they would have graciously declined to run the photo. Remember, TMZ's true mission is to make people feel embarrassed or shameful via posts on the site. This is another new low, TMZ.

166 days ago
38.

paul a.    

Ali, the Man!!!
The Greatest!!
He would have cleaned Tyson's clock

166 days ago
39.

bart    

He was one of the greatest boxers and showman around. No one can match what he did.

166 days ago
40.

manbearpig    

chuck wepner should challenge him to a rematch.

166 days ago
41.

kstrick    

True legend.

166 days ago
42.

pseudonym    

Too bad UConn won! Huskies!!

166 days ago
43.

Pillsbury Pancakes    

Sad but true: tribute news pieces that will air after his death and being produced right now. My networks docu-drama isn't finished yet, if he holds out 4 more months it would be golden for us. It's gonna kill when it airs after he dies! Why is Wayne Brady posing next to him?

166 days ago
44.

Thespeechy    

He has Parkinson's. That's called a "flat affect". There's the Muhammed ALi Parkinson 'a Center at St Joseph 's Hospital in Phoenix, AZ.

166 days ago
45.

Rhubino    

"I'm so bad, I make medicine sick". Classic.

166 days ago
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