LAS VEGAS - Floyd Mayweather Jr. says it's not the zero at the end of his 47-0 record that defines his place in boxing history. It's all the zeros in his bank account that are the true measure of his greatness.
Famous for his defensive style, Mayweather saw the media punch coming and easily slipped it when asked if a loss to Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden would do permanent damage to his claim to be "TBE," the best ever in the sport.
"Even if I did or I didn't fight Manny Pacquiao, that don't define my career," he said. "That doesn't make me."
Pressed on the importance of the zero, Mayweather wouldn't allow himself to be boxed into that corner either. "It don't define my career," he said. "The great thing about my career is I was a smart businessman. Let's talk about that -- a 19-year career with no punishment on the body and hundreds of millions. Now, that's something to talk about."
So it really is all about the money to "Money" Mayweather? "Absolutely," he said. "At the end of the day, my daughter can't eat no zero. She can eat the money zero. She can't spend the boxing record."
At the same time, you can believe he understands the relationship between the zero on his record and the zeros in his bank account. Both are predicated on a defensive style that often is less than crowd-pleasing. But he has parlayed it into becoming the biggest box-office attraction in boxing history in terms of revenue generated by breaking down and beating all 47 pro opponents.
"I know I can fight," Mayweather said, but then he added a qualifier: "I know I can really dish it out because I don't really take it too much. And I feel like, if I was a reckless fighter who didn't care, my career would have been extremely short."
That career admittedly is winding down. Floyd Mayweather Sr., who trains his son, has advised him to retire soon, especially if he wants to get to the end with that zero on his record. "I think he should quit," he said Thursday, "because, if you stick around, somebody's going to get you sooner or later."
Floyd Jr. told a group of writers on Tuesday that he plans to fulfill the final date on his six-fight deal with Showtime in September. He's an avid gambler, but it's obvious he is taking stock and is ready to walk away when his stack of chips in the game is at its peak.
He praised "The Money Team," as he calls his advisers, and mentioned that he had just earned $11 million earlier this week from a particular investment. Win or lose against Pacquiao, he's set.
"When the fight is over Saturday and I go home and even 10 years from now, I'm still going to be getting a seven-figure check every month," Mayweather said. "I'm going to make sure my kids have the best education. At the end of the day, that's what it's really all about -- my family."
The decision to finally fight Pacquiao, Mayweather said, was not to satisfy the critics who said he was ducking but purely a business decision. "Money, my kids," Mayweather said of his reason for signing. "Of course, I love the fans. I want to give them excitement. I love them.
"But no, it was the money. Me investing. I look at things in a business aspect. This fight they say is upwards of $200 million. Just from this fight, all my [four] kids can get $50 million apiece. I think I made a smart move."
As for his excitement about facing Pacquiao at long last, Mayweather insisted he's not looking at it as the potential crowning achievement of his career. "It's just work," Mayweather said. "I just look at it as my job to do what I do."