LAS VEGAS - If anything was sweeter than the $100-million check Floyd Mayweather Jr. received Saturday night as the first installment on a purse that should approach $200 million, it was the opportunity to crow about his unanimous-decision victory over Manny Pacquiao before all his critics.
The zero remained intact on Mayweather's 48-0 record (26 KOs) after his defensive choreography once again wowed the judges and brought derision from a generally pro-Pacquiao crowd of 16,507 at the MGM Grand Garden. Judge Dave Moretti made him a 118-110 winner and judges Burt Clements and Glenn Feldman gave him a 116-112 victory.
During the five years it took to finally make the fight, Mayweather was criticized for ducking Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) and his awkward southpaw style. At the postfight news conference, Mayweather came to collect his due as the self-proclaimed "TBE," meaning the best ever.
"Everyone has been saying for years that I was scared or that Floyd would lose," Mayweather said. "To all those who wrote bad stories about me, I'm going to wake up early and read your stories."
Mayweather said there was nothing about fighting Pacquiao that made it more important to his legacy than any of the previous 47 wins. "This was another day at work," Mayweather said. "You guys said this guy could beat Floyd. I want you guys to eat your words."
Suggesting a lead to the story of the fight, Mayweather said, " 'The non-believers in Floyd Mayweather turned into believers.' Write that tomorrow."
To be sure, many boxing writers and commentators lavished praise on Mayweather for his expertise in the art of hitting without getting hit much in return. But Pacquiao often had the crowd roaring when he landed. Mayweather admitted he was rocked in the fourth round.
"He hit me with a solid shot," Mayweather said of a straight left that had him covering as Pacquiao rained a flurry of punches. "It wakes me up."
Floyd Mayweather Sr., who trains his son, implored Floyd Jr. to be more aggressive, but the son knew better than the father.
"Every punch Pacquiao threw, his fans would scream," Mayweather said. "In my dad's head, the fight was close. In my heart, I knew I was winning . . . My dad wanted me to pick it up. My focus was to go out there and be me.
"He felt it was extremely close. I knew the judges were not going by the crowd. They were going by shots landed."
Mayweather said the final bout of his career will come in September. He plans to relinquish all of his welterweight titles -- WBC, WBO, WBA Super -- to give younger fighters a shot.
Having proved himself once against Pacquiao, Mayweather showed no appetite for a rematch, indicating he's ready to rest and count his money. "We both made . . . I can't even put a number on it," he said.
In his pocket, Mayweather had a check with nine digits for the first half of his projected $200-million purse. He later showed it around and said, "I'm very grateful. I didn't do it by myself."