Paula Deen has a very powerful ally ... 'cause undefeated boxing champ Laila Ali tells TMZ she's still got Deen's back, even after the n-word controversy.
Right before Deen's kingdom came crumbling down, Laila joined Deen on the Food Network show "Paula's Best Dishes" back in April to cook up some Cloverleaf Rolls, Brussels sprouts, stewed beef and cheese grits.
Since her appearance, Deen has basically been branded a racist due to the fact she admitted using the N-word in private.
So, when Laila and her husband, former NFL star Curtis Conway, rolled into Malibu yesterday, we had to ask how she felt about the disgraced chef.
Considering how important her father is in the African American community ... and the respect he has among all Americans ... Laila's support could be a game changer in Paula's quest for redemption.