Floyd Mayweather defends opponent for 49th bout
Floyd Mayweather on Thursday hit back at critics of his choice of opponent Andre Berto for next month`s Las Vegas title bout which is expected to see him equal Rocky Marciano`s legendary record of 49-0.
The outspoken welterweight king has faced a storm of criticism since announcing earlier this week he will face the unfancied Berto in Las Vegas on September 12 to cement a place in the history books.
But Mayweather, whose super-fight with Manny Pacquiao in May was widely regarded as a flop, insisted that his meeting with Berto, instead of a more dangerous opponent, had box-office appeal.
"I have been getting backlash," Mayweather said. "They say no one in the sport will buy the fight. I picked him because he is an exciting fighter."
Mayweather also dismissed suggestions that he should have chosen Britain`s former two-time world champ Amir Khan who is considered a tougher opponent and who has been angling for a confrontation with the American.
"How many championships has Khan won, two. Berto has won two also," Mayweather said.
Mayweather and Berto came face to face in Los Angeles on Thursday for a press conference to launch the countdown to the fight.
There was no trash talking during Thursday`s news conference but the fighters did get together for a stare down at the front of the podium.
Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) thanked Mayweather for the opportunity and his trainer Virgil Hunter spent more time at the podium lavishing praise on Mayweather than he did talking about his fighter.
Mayweather meanwhile brushed off criticism of his cagey, tactical performance against Pacquiao earlier this year, which failed to live up to the hype.
"My job is to go out there and be a chess player and that is what I did. I found a way to win," he said.
Mayweather meanwhile reiterated Thursday that next month`s bout is his final fight -- a claim few commentators are taking seriously given that he is likely to face a money-spinning payday for a chance to go 50-0.