Not satisfied to be "The Richest" boxer in history, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is sticking to his claim to be "TBE," which is shorthand for "The Best Ever." Mayweather made that comment in a recent ESPN interview, and he explained it further in an international conference call Wednesday in advance of his May 2 bout with Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.
Reminded that Muhammad Ali is known universally as “The Greatest,” Mayweather said he respects Ali “like any other champion . . . I’ve done just as much in the sport as Ali did. When you look at it, Ali did it in one weight class, which is heavyweight.
“It’s hard for a guy to be me, to still be very, very sharp at the age of 38 and still going strong at 38. I feel like I’m the best. The same way [Ali] called himself ‘The Greatest,’ I call myself ‘TBE.’ I’m sure that I’ll get criticized for what I said, but I’m sure he got criticized when he called himself the greatest.”
When the conversation shifted to Mayweather’s legacy, he said he would leave that to boxing historians to determine. But the undefeated couldn’t resist another jab at Ali. “He lost, and he’s still known as ‘The Greatest’,” Mayweather noted.
As the days count down to the Pacquiao fight, Mayweather won’t lack for controversy either generated by himself or by Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach, who has been outspoken in the extreme about his plans for beating Mayweather. Trying to take the high road, Mayweather said he would try not to respond to Roach because it would be viewed as “picking on a guy who isn’t 100 percent healthy.”
Roach suffers from a form of Parkinson’s disease. “He’s trying to make it a god/devil type of thing,” Mayweather said of Roach, “and the best way to handle a situation like that is not to say anything at all if you don’t have anything positive to say. It comes down to nothing but the two fighters.”
The perception is that Mayweather put off fighting Pacquiao as long as possible, but while many regard this bout as the biggest challenge to his undefeated status, Mayweather suggested he’s trying to treat it like another fight despite the trappings.
“I’m not really going crazy,” Mayweather said. “It’s just a fight for me. I know it’s the biggest fight in boxing history, but I can’t approach it like that. I’m never going to put unnecessary pressure on myself. He’s a fighter that’s extremely talented.”
One thing for sure is that Mayweather is extremely serious about his preparation, and he promised to be at his best on May 2. “When you’re at this level, you always want to perform extremely well,” Mayweather said. “I’ve trained extremely hard I believe. That’s why I’m at this level — at the pinnacle of my career — because I’ve been pushing myself.”