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After Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s victory, questions turn immediately to Manny Pacquiao

Fresh off controversial knockout of Victor Ortiz for welterweight title, Mayweather again flooded with questions about potentially facing Manny Pacquiao

Mayweather Jr. knocks out Ortiz

Steve Marcus

Floyd Mayweather Jr. answers questions during a post-fight press conference following his fight against Victor Ortiz at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011.

Mayweather Jr. Knocks Out Ortiz

WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz, left, takes a punch from Floyd Mayweather Jr. during their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Mayweather KOs Ortiz for WBC welterweight title

KSNV coverage of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s fourth-round knockout of Victor Ortiz to capture the WBC welterweight title, Sept. 17, 2011.

It was only a matter of time until Floyd Mayweather Jr. was asked the question.

Mayweather scored a controversial fourth-round knockout Saturday against Victor Ortiz at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to win the WBC welterweight title. But in the post-fight news conference, the talk quickly shifted from the chaos surrounding the end of the fight to what is next in the undefeated Mayweather’s career.

And when you talk about a next fight for the 34-year-old Mayweather (42-0), one opponent always comes to mind: Manny Pacquiao. It would be the fight of the decade between boxing’s unquestioned top pound-for-pound fighters.

The bout, however, is not going to happen unless Pacquiao agrees to take a drug test by blood sample — the one roadblock continually preventing the fight from happening the past two years. On Saturday, Mayweather was steadfast in that demand.

“I just want an even playing field. That’s it,” Mayweather said. “If you have nothing to hide, then take the test.”

Listening to Mayweather rant and rave about the legacy of his career and the prospect of fighting Pacquiao, one could easily forget the controversy that ended his fight a few hours earlier.

The decisive fourth round went back and forth, and with about 20 seconds remaining in the round, Ortiz had Mayweather pinned in the corner against the ropes. But referee Joe Cortez stopped Ortiz while he was on the attack for an obvious head butt and deducted him a point.

After the stoppage, the fighters touched gloves in the middle of the ring to restart. That’s when Mayweather caught Ortiz off guard with a combination of punches to end the fight. Mayweather wasted no time once the fight resumed — a savvy move by the veteran, even though some observers in the sold-out arena felt Ortiz was cheated.

For Mayweather, however, there was no foul play.

When the fighters went to the middle of the ring and touched gloves to signal fighting again, Mayweather instantly connected with a left then the fight-ending right. You could easily blame the referee, Cortez, for not having the fighters separated enough. Or you could blame Ortiz for not having his hands up and ready — one of boxing’s golden rules.

Mayweather exited the arena to a chorus of boos. Replays on the arena's big screen showed the miscommunication as the fight restarted, adding more fuel to the fans' anger.

“He just caught me and I woke up after, like ‘oh, so this is what is going on,'" Ortiz said.

Ortiz asked Mayweather for a rematch, which Mayweather said he would gladly give. However, it would appear to be an unlikely scenario, partially because the only fight of significant interest would be against Pacquiao and also because Mayweather isn’t sure when his next fight will be.

He fought tonight after a 16-month layoff and takes pride in being in control of his career. And he doesn’t hold any punches when sounding off about Pacquiao.

“With or without Pacquiao, anytime Floyd Mayweather goes out there he is going to make 70 million dollars. I don’t need him,” Mayweather said.

A few moments later, he added: “Pacquiao is famous because he is connected to my name. When they mention Pacquiao, they say who is that? They say that is the guy trying to fight Floyd Mayweather.”

Mayweather improved to 42-0 with the win and added another championship belt to his already massive collection. He’s a seven-time, five-division champion, displaying all of the title belts on the podium for his press conference.

It’s an impressive collection that makes him one of the best all-time pound-for-pound fighters. It put a big target on his back from criticism.

“I fight a guy 10 years younger than me, (my critics will say) he don’t have experience,” Mayweather said. “If I fight someone my age, he is too old. If I fight a guy moving up in weight class, he is too small. I’m always in a no-win situation. The only thing I can do is keep going out there and kicking ass.”

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