LAS VEGAS - For Manny Pacquiao, it's for God and his Filipino countrymen. For Floyd Mayweather Jr., it's all about the money.
That is how the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world define themselves, and they stuck to those scripts in separate "grand arrival" ceremonies choreographed Tuesday to stoke the fires for the richest pay-per-view fight in boxing history Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden.
They were supposed to share the same stage at the Grand Garden, but Top Rank promoter Bob Arum moved his fighter's festivities up the Las Vegas Strip to the Mandalay Bay, where Pacquiao was the centerpiece of a Filipino cultural celebration of sorts.VoteMayweather vs. Pacquiao: Who has the edge?
Pacquiao just laughed when asked if he wanted to avoid Mayweather, although they are scheduled to appear together Wednesday at the final news conference. But Mayweather portrayed Pacquiao's absence as a slight to backers of the fight.
"So many sponsors and networks came together to make this happen," Mayweather said. "We both should have been here."
In a wide-ranging interview after his arrival event, Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) doubled down on his criticism of Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) and their relative status in boxing. "I don't think one fight defines my career; all 47 fights were key," Mayweather began. "The bar is set differently for Mayweather.
"If I got KO'd by [Juan Manuel] Marquez, this fight never happens. If I didn't show up to the grand arrival, it's front page news. Standards are different. The bar has to be different for me."
This was Mayweather planting seeds, trying to manipulate public perception. He variously took credit for being the one to finally make the fight and took shots at his former promoter Arum and Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz.
At one point, Mayweather intimated Pacquiao might want to consider hiring an accountant to look at the books on his side of the promotion. Mayweather said he expects to earn close to $200 million, considerably higher than the original projections of $120 million. Pacquiao's end of a 60-40 split is supposed to be $80 million, but also could go higher.
When they met in January at a Heat game in Miami, Mayweather said, "I told him I'm surprised he's not working with Al Haymon [Mayweather's chief adviser]. He would have made $100 million if he worked with us.
"Financially, I don't think Top Rank is treating him right for this fight. I kind of know his numbers, but I don't know."
Consider that a feint by Mayweather to distract Pacquiao from the task at hand. But Pacquiao appeared serene and utterly unflappable at his event.
Asked if Mayweather is the most dangerous opponent he's faced, Pacquiao said, "I cannot say that he is the most dangerous opponent in my career because I have already fought [Oscar] De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Marquez. I've got to say that he's not a difficult opponent.
"My confidence now is different than the other tough fights I had. I feel excited. This is it! I have to prove something. Every time I'm underdog, I like that because my killer instinct, my focus is there. This is what I want . . . This is the moment that I believe he will experience loss."
Told that Pacquiao said he's not the most dangerous fighter he's faced, Mayweather expressed surprise: "How does he know that?"
At the same time, Mayweather, 38, certainly is aware of his own mortality. He said he might retire after the final fight on his Showtime contract in September. If he beats Pacquiao, that fight would be for 49-0, the same record as heavyweight Rocky Marciano, the only championship fighter to retire unbeaten.
"Right now, I'm TBE," Mayweather said, "and Saturday after the fight, I still will be TBE."
"The Best Ever," he meant.