Las Vegas: Floyd Mayweather has earned the right to retire and deserves more respect, his vanquished opponent said Saturday, hitting out at those who questioned the unbeaten champion.
Andre Berto was magnanimous in his defeat on points to Mayweather, who reiterated afterwards that his 49th victory was his final fight.
But few believed Mayweather prior to the showdown when he said it would be his swan song.
Berto, 32, said Mayweather deserved a break.
"He has done tremendous things for the sport and broken all the records and made shitloads of money," said the beaten Berto.
"I am not here to say if a man should retire or keep going. This is a brutal sport and he put in a lot of work.
"Too many people are questioning that.
"You put in 20 years, busting his ass running and training and being able to stay undefeated -- he should be able to do what he wants."
Berto, a former two-time world champion who has now lost four of his last seven fights, said the fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was "a lot closer" than the scorecards suggested.
The judges had it 118-110, 117-111 and 120-108, all to Mayweather, the welterweight world champion.
Nevertheless, Berto paid tribute to Mayweather, after a sometimes prickly fight that included the referee telling the two fighters to stop trash-talking one another in the ring.
"He is sharp. To be 38 and still have that speed is unheard of and I commend him for that," said Berto.
"To have that 19-year run being world champion and move to greatness. I have to commend him as a fighter because not too many people can do this -- make that long walk to that ring, fight someone they do not know."
Berto, the rank outsider who made $4 million from the defeat, said Mayweather`s experience and ability to slip the big shots had made him a formidable opponent.
"A few occasions I got an opportunity to land a few jabs or hooks, but he`s really slippery and experience played a big part," said Berto.
"He knows how to use movement for rest time and come back with a few punches, he is real smart.
"I got a little caught up like everyone else gets caught up trying to knock him out."