Muhammad Ali (left) and Joe Frazier
Stefanie Keenan/Getty; Sipa
11/06/2011 AT 06:15 PM EST
Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier were once boxing opponents, but outside of the ring the two men have one another's backs.
Just hours after news broke on Sunday that former World Heavyweight champion Frazier, 67, is in hospice
, suffering from liver cancer, his former competitor sent public prayers and well-wishes.
"The news about Joe is hard to believe and even harder to accept," Ali, 69, said in a statement to CBS
. "Joe is a fighter and a champion and I am praying he is fighting now."
Keeping Frazier in his family's "daily prayers," Ali says, "Joe has a lot of friends pulling for him, and I'm one of them."