Floyd Mayweather danced his way to a unanimous decision over frustrated Manny Pacquiao here Saturday to win the richest fight in history and cement his place in the pantheon of boxing greats.
Boos rang out from a pro-Pacquiao Las Vegas crowd as Mayweather's emphatic victory was confirmed by all three scorecards after 12 rounds of cat and mouse action.
Mayweather comfortably picked off his Filipino rival to snuff out any chance of the full-blooded slugfest that the more aggressive Pacquiao was hoping to ignite in front of the crowd of 16,507.
The win extended Mayweather's remarkable 19-year unbeaten record to 48-0, putting him within one fight of equalling Rocky Marciano's legendary milestone of 49-0.
The 38-year-old Mayweather retained his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association welterweight titles and seized Pacquiao's World Boxing Organization belt by winning the fight on all three of the judges' scorecards.
"I am the American dream," Mayweather said. "I knew I had him from round one. I have so much experience I could calculate his moves.
"I was born a winner and I am going to die a winner."
Mayweather said he hopes the win will silence critics who accused him of ducking Pacquiao and hand-picking opponents he knew he could beat in order to keep his unblemished record intact.
"Everyone said this guy could beat Floyd. That Floyd is a chicken. The non believers, well Floyd turned them into believers."
Saturday's fight is widely believed to be the most lucrative in boxing history with revenues of $400 million.
Ringside judge Dave Moretti scored the bout 118-110 for Mayweather, while judges Glenn Feldman and Bert Clements both scored it 116-112 for the American.
But when the results were announced the pro-Pacquiao crowd booed lustily and tried to drown out Mayweather's interview inside the ring.
Their Filipino star Pacquiao suffered the sixth loss of his career to go with 57 victories and two draws.
Pacquiao said he was hindered by an injured right shoulder that he hurt in training several weeks ago.
"I did my best but my best wasn't good enough," Pacquiao said. "From the third round on I felt a pain in my shoulder."
Fans in the Philippines echoed the disappointment of those in the ring, crying foul over the judges' decision and claiming their man was robbed of a deserving victory.
They filled gymnasiums, cinemas and bars as the Southeast Asian nation of 100 million people stopped in its tracks for Pacquiao's battle with Mayweather.
"Pacquiao was cheated. Mayweather didn't land a single solid punch," said cable television technician Romeo Rivera, 41.
There is no denying that the 36-year-old Pacquiao made Mayweather work for the victory and hit the American with "three or four" thundering shots.
He was the aggressor, pressing the action from the first round and was able to land some right-left combinations on Mayweather's head, especially on the ropes and in the final seconds of the early rounds.
But ultimately Pacquiao wasn't able to keep up his frenzied early pace for all 12 rounds and Mayweather, who was the bigger of the two fighters, managed to set traps which allowed him to slip in counterpunches and hard right hands that kept the Filipino southpaw at bay.
Even so, Pacquiao said he thought he did enough to earn the victory.
"I thought I won the fight," he said. "He didn't do nothing."
Manny Pacquiao is embraced by Floyd Mayweather Jr. during a press conference following their welterweight title fight. (AP Photo)
Mayweather reiterated afterwards that he plans to retire after his next fight in September which will fulfil his six-fight contract to Showtime Sports.
"My last fight is in September. I'll do that and I will hang it up," said Mayweather, estimated to have earned more than $200 million for one night's work. Pacquiao will receive well over $100 million in a 60-40 purse split the fighters agreed to beforehand.
The entrance of the fighters to the ring was delayed about 45 minutes because of problems with the heavy demand for pay-per-view telecast and the providers ability to distribute it.
Some of the biggest names in Hollywood, entertainment and sport were in attendance, including director Clint Eastwood, actors Robert De Niro, Jon Voight, Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper, musician Sting, former NBA star Magic Johnson and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who visited Pacquiao in his dressing room before the fight.
Only a lucky few had tickets to the bout but thousands more milled around the outside of the Grand Garden arena and in the hotel's casino.
Mayweather made a grand entrance befitting of his superstar status. He was accompanied by his "The Money Team" which includes his father/trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.
But Pacquiao arrived first to the ring, smiling relentlessly and even taking a selfie with long-time trainer Freddie Roach during his entrance.