Floyd Mayweather has refused to back off from comments declaring himself a better fighter than Muhammad Ali.
Mayweather said he respects Ali’s great career and the things he did outside the ring.
He believes he’s done as much in boxing as the legendary former heavyweight champion ever did, without the losses that Ali suffered in his career.
“He called himself The Greatest and I call myself TBE (The Best Ever),” Mayweather said.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll get criticised for what I said, but I could care less. I could care less about the backlash.”
Mayweather had earlier said that he was better than both Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson, pointing to his 47-0 record as proof.
He also said he would never have lost to a fighter like Leon Spinks, who beat an aging Ali in 1978 after having just seven pro fights.
“There were some other fights he lost and he’s still known as The Greatest because that’s what he put out there. It is what it is,” Mayweather said.
A little more than a week before his megafight with Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather seemed relaxed on a conference call where he talked about his career and the man he will face in the ring May 2.
He refused to say anything bad about Pacquiao, and said he was treating the richest fight ever as just another fight.
“I know it’s the biggest fight in boxing history but I can’t approach it like that,” Mayweather said.
“I’m never going to put any unnecessary pressure on myself. I like to approach the fight like he’s a fighter who’s extremely talented.”
That has worked for Mayweather his entire career, though most boxing historians would disagree with his own view of his place in boxing’s historical hierarchy.
Current heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko, who told a group of reporters in New York on Tuesday that Mayweather shouldn’t be so boastful.
“I think people call the king the king, not the king (who says) ‘I’m the king.’ So people make others somebody that he is or that he’s not. So that’s people’s opinions,” Klitschko said.
While Mayweather’s place in history may be in debate, there’s no debate he will make the biggest purse ever against Pacquiao.
Depending on pay-per-view sales – which reportedly have been strong for a fight still 10 days away – he could earn as much as $US180 million ($A232 million) for the welterweight title bout.