Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015 | 1:21 a.m.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s final news conference sure resembled that of someone who doesn’t plan to return to boxing.
He talked about his legacy, reminisced about past fights, repeatedly thanked family members and supporters, many of whom were in attendance, and seemed content with his decision to retire.
Mayweather disposed of Andre Berto by an unanimous decision Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, matching Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record in what the 38-year-old Las Vegan has long claimed was his last bout.
It’s just nobody believes the welterweight. First, boxers are notorious for coming out of retirement, never able to shake the routine of training and needing to be in the spotlight. Mayweather, after all, retired once for 21 months until May 2009.
And, of course, Mayweather is still the sport’s top draw and will be offered a significant payday to fight in the spring at the new Las Vegas Arena, the privately funded $375 million MGM/AEG facility scheduled to open in April behind the New York-New York.
“I did everything the way I wanted to do it,” Mayweather said.
In addition to the undefeated record, Mayweather shattered boxing records with what he estimates at $800 million in career earnings. He was a professional for 19 years, 18 of which he was the champion. Some of those belts were on the podium for his news conference — a sign of his greatness, and possible sincerity about retirement.
“I don’t know another fighter who made it look so easy,” Mayweather said. “I make it look so easy.”
Mayweather’s opponent Saturday surely helped make this fight look easy.
Berto, who entering having lost three of his past six fights, was overwhelmed from the first bell and posed little threat. Mayweather closed as a minus-1,800 betting favorite, meaning gamblers needed to wager $1,800 to win $100.
Berto was hand-picked by Mayweather, who was criticized for not selecting a tougher opponent for his last fight. The opponent is also why some speculate he’ll be back, because he wouldn’t want to end his career against a relative no-name.
He won convincingly on all three judges’ scorecards, including winning all rounds on one, 120-108. The others he won 117-111 and 118-110.
“No fight was really hard. If a fight was difficult, it was because I made it difficult,” he said. “It didn’t matter who opponent I chose, I got the same result.”
Mayweather says the consensus three top fighters currently are Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez, all of whom he defeated during a lucrative six-fight contract with Showtime that ended Saturday night. The fight with Pacquiao partly defined his career, mostly because it took years for the top pound-for-pound fighters to agree on terms, and because the night didn’t deliver on the “Fight of the Decade” hype.
Still, Mayweather made more than $300 million that night.
“Fight No. 48, I made everyone eat your words,” he said of the win over Pacquiao. “Never bet against me again. Imagine how big your bankroll would be if you bet with me 49 times. Imagine that.”
Mayweather wants to retire while he’s still sharp and has all his senses. Even after dominating Berto — he landed 232 of his 410 punches for an impressive 57 percent, while Berto managed to land just 83 of 495 punches — Mayweather still had cuts and swelling on his face.
“I got a little bump and bruises, but it’s OK. I made upwards of 70 mill tonight,” he said.
Berto, who pocketed a healthy $4 million for being Mayweather’s punching bag in his finale, raved about Mayweather’s skill set. Like others before, Berto couldn’t match his speed or experience.
“He’s smart. He’s real smart, man,” Berto said. “He knows how to work certain situations. He’s real slippery. His experience paid off.”
Mayweather has been criticized in recent years for saying he was the best fighter in history, even better than some of the greats such as Muhammad Ali. He’s also been criticized for his actions out of the ring, which included time in jail for domestic violence.
Mayweather has heard all the skeptics.
“He’s cocky He’s arrogant. No one likes him,” Mayweather said. “He can’t write; he can’t read. If you all believe that (he can’t read or write), then you are dumb for believing it.”
Mayweather’s children and other family sat ringside, and he nodded to them during the pre-fight festivities. One of his sons carried two of his belts from the ring to the locker room after the fight. There was even an in-house video tribute played before the fight, showing Mayweather doing a range of things such as swimming with his children and shopping.
Mayweather won’t completely close the door on boxing. He still owns a gym on Spring Mountain Road and has Mayweather Promotions. He hopes to mentor the next 49-0 champion.
“I want to see my records broken. But, of course, I want to be part of it,” he joked.