He was being pressed by reporters at his post-fight news conference about whether he’ll truly retire after dominating Andre Berto on Saturday night by unanimous decision.
At 38, Mayweather was far faster and more skilled than his younger foe, reminding afterward that Berto was “not facing any ordinary Joe. He’s facing the best.”
Yet, Mayweather — boxing’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter — also has his 39th birthday arriving in February.
And after adding a $32-million purse to the $220-million-plus he collected by defeating Manny Pacquiao, he showed no interest in following the well-worn path by boxing greats such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson, who were sad shadows of themselves in the end.
“Those things I remember,” Mayweather said after recalling how he all but demanded monthly fights to sharpen his talent early in his career. “If I keep fighting … I gotta get up out of there.”
Mayweather put on a signature display of his “hit and don’t be hit” mentality against Berto, connecting on 57% of his punches and peppering the challenger with 83 jabs to retain his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Assn. welterweight belts at the MGM Grand.
He matched late former-heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano’s record at retirement and tied Louis with his 26th world-title victory.
“I don’t know another fighter that made it look so easy … I made it look so easy,” Mayweather said.
He wasn’t talking only of Saturday’s fight, after one judge awarded him all 12 rounds. He was speaking of his career.
“He’s just smart. Really smart,” Berto said. “I got caught up, like everybody else, in trying to knock him out. Even when I was on the inside, he’d tie me up with his little tactics. You want to catch his [rear] and get him out of there. He’s too sharp.
“I haven’t been in there with Rocky Marciano, but to have that speed and timing, it’s unheard of.”