LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - The prospect of a long awaited mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Filipino Manny Pacquiao seemed as distant as ever after the flamboyant American's fourth-round knockout of Victor Ortiz.
Though Mayweather improved his perfect professional record to 42-0 by claiming the WBC welterweight title from Ortiz, he was reluctant to commit to the showdown most desired by the boxing world.
"I don't need Pacquiao," Mayweather, 34, told reporters after beating Ortiz at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. "With or without Pacquiao, every time Floyd Mayweather goes out there, he's going to make over $70 million.
"I don't need him. Where was Pacquiao in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 when I was dominating the game? He never asked me (for a fight) when I was in my twenties or when I was in my teens."
A duel between the defense-minded Mayweather and the aggressive Pacquiao, the two biggest drawcards of their generation, would decide the mythical title of the world's best pound-for-pound fighter.
Five-division world champion Mayweather had been expected to meet Pacquiao last year until negotiations collapsed over the American's demand for random drug testing.
Shane Mosley then stepped in to take the Filipino's place but he was outclassed by Mayweather in a non-title welterweight bout in May.
Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in November and, should he win that bout, there is speculation the Filipino southpaw could finally meet Mayweather next May.
However the American, who made a minimum of $25 million from his victory over Ortiz, repeatedly questions how Pacquaio could have won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight classes.
"Sugar Ray Leonard, we knew he was going to be great from his Olympic days," Mayweather said. "Michael Jordan, we knew from college he was going to be a great professional.
"Floyd Mayweather, from the beginning of his career in the '90s, we knew he was going to be a great professional. Now ask yourself, a fighter just don't get to 25 years old and all of a sudden he becomes great," he added, referring to Pacquaio.
Mayweather also criticized Pacquiao for riding on his coat tails financially and also with the selection of his opponents.
"Pacquiao is famous because he is attached to my name," the American said. "When they say Pacquiao, they say that's the guy they are trying to get to fight Floyd Mayweather. When they say Floyd Mayweather, they say the greatest ever. All Pacquiao is doing is fighting my leftovers man.
"Before he goes about fighting Floyd Mayweather, he has to get his business in order. We're talking about a guy that gives up, when he fights, 30 percent of his check to two different companies. I keep 100 percent of the revenue."
For his part, Pacquiao continually defers any talk of a Mayweather mega-bout to his promoter.
"I'm not going to fight anybody as long as there is a problem with the decision of the promoter," the Filipino said earlier this year. "That's my promoter's job. I'm just a fighter to do my job and train hard for the fight."
(Editing by Julian Linden)