LAS VEGAS (AFP) – Floyd Mayweather took his unblemished record to 48-0 with a unanimous decision over “hell of a fighter’’ Manny Pacquiao on Saturday, then reiterated he’ll retire after one more bout.
“He is a hell of a fighter,’’ Mayweather said of Pacquiao, the Filipino icon who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions.
“I take my hat off to him. Now I see why he’s one of the guys that are at the pinnacle of the sport of boxing.’’
The clash between two of the most talented fighters of their generation was more than five years in the making, with no love lost between the camps.
Boxing purists felt the fight came too late – with each fighter past his prime. But there’s no doubt the heightened anticipation resulting from the years of will-they, won’t-they negotiating helped make the bout a financial blockbuster.
Total revenues were projected to reach as much as $400 million. Mayweather expected to rake in $200 million and Pacquiao was in line for a potential $100 million payday once revenue from sources including pay-per-view television sales was counted.
“When the history books are written, this fight will have been worth the wait,’’ Mayweather said, adding that 19 years of ring experience had prepared him for the most scrutinized fight of his career.
“He’s a very awkward fighter, so I had to take my time and watch him close,’’ Mayweather said. “All 47 fights before I got to this fight played a major key in my career.
“He had some moments in the fight, but I kept him on the outside. I was a smart fighter. I wasn’t getting hit with a lot of shots until I sat in the pocket, that’s when he would land a lot of shots.’’
Flush with a triumph that was greeted with dismay by vocal Pacquiao fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Mayweather reiterated that he plans to fight just one more time.
With one more fight, the 38-year-old Mayweather will fulfill his rich six-fight deal with telecaster Showtime.
And with one more victory he would match the iconic 49-0 ring record of Rocky Marciano.
Mayweather has insisted throughout the build up to the Pacquiao fight that 49-0 would be enough for him – although skeptics think that should he get there he won’t be able to resist trying for a 50th win.
“My last fight is in September, and then it’s time for me to hang it up,’’ the 38-year-old said.
“I’m almost 40 years old now. I’ve been in this sport for 19 years and have been a champion for 18 years. I’m truly blessed.’’