Las Vegas — Floyd Mayweather Jr. refused Wednesday to back off earlier 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. But he said he believes he has 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 criticized 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.
"I just look at Ali's career when he fought Leon Spinks and lost to a fighter with seven fights," Mayweather said. "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."
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. But my thing is to just be Floyd Mayweather."
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. That includes the current heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko, who told a group of reporters in New York on Tuesday that maybe Mayweather shouldn't be so boastful.
"I think probably, I heard this comment from Mayweather that he's better than Ali or greater than Ali," Klitschko said. "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."
Mayweather 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 $180 million for the welterweight title bout.
This fight needs no selling, and Mayweather has been subdued at every public appearance.
Meanwhile Wednesday, a dispute over tickets to the fight was settled, clearing the way for a limited number of seats to be sold to the public.
A conference call between the rival camps — with CBS head honcho Les Moonves serving as a mediator — resolved the dispute over millions of dollars in tickets, said Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum.
The battle held up the sale of about 500 tickets to the public and the release of thousands of others to ticket brokers and others.
There was no word from MGM on when the tickets would be put on sale, but Mayweather's promoter, Leonard Ellerbe, said it would likely be today.
"I'm doing my very, very best to get them on sale" today, he said. "I don't have a time yet."
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao
Ringside: midnight (approx), Saturday, May 2, MGM Grand, Las Vegas
TV: Pay per view
Records: Mayweather 47-0-0, Pacquiao 57-5-2
Purse: Mayweather expected to receive $120 million (approx.), Pacquiao $80 million (approx.)