Floyd Mayweather cemented his place among the pantheon of boxing greats, with a 48-0 fight record after a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday (2 May) in a fight that lived up to its immense hype and price tag.

Mayweather weathered an early assault from the Filipino southpaw before winning the later rounds using his reach and jab to finish ahead on all three scorecards in a welterweight showdown set to be the top grossing prize fight of all-time.

"Manny's a remarkable fighter, he's an unbelievable fighter," Mayweather said after a four-belt unification bout that was more than five years in the making.

Though Pacquiao repeatedly forced Mayweather to back pedal, the wily American blunted his opponent's best efforts by using his renowned defensive skills while getting in several telling jabs and punches of his own.

Mayweather and Pacquiao had promised to deliver on years of hype and give fans their money's worth and were true to their word in delivering an entertaining contest that had the capacity crowd on its feet roaring from the opening bell to the end of the 12-round showcase.

"I can't say he's the hardest puncher that I faced, but I can see why he's where he's at in the sport. As little moves as he tried to make in the fight but to me, having so much experience boxing in so many different styles, I can counter and calculate his moves," the 38-year-old Mayweather said after an emotional embrace with Pacquiao.

The fight between the two greatest boxers of their generation was one that appeared might never happen as Pacquiao resisted Mayweather's demands for blood testing for five years.

When the two camps finally hammered out a deal, it was the richest in boxing history, setting new records for pay-per-view (PPV) buys and gate receipts.

The fighters were also paid royally for their night's work, with Mayweather guaranteed $120m (£79.27m) and Pacquiao $80m (£52.85m) although both men could pocket much more depending on the number of PPV purchases.

For Mayweather, the fight was one that will shape his legacy.

Even if he were to have retired unbeaten, there would have forever been a question mark hanging over his career without at least one meeting against his Filipino rival.

"If I'm not mistaken everyone was saying for years, I was scared, Floyd will lose, all you guys said this, all the people that said this," said Mayweather.

"For the last few years, I tried to keep myself away from negative publicity, when people write negative about me. Because you people don't really know me, I'm a person that loves his family, I only want the best for my family.

"I'm just an American dream, I worked hard to put my family in a great situation, but for tomorrow for all those who wrote bad stories about me, I'm going to wake up early in the morning and I want to see your stories tomorrow."

Mayweather said that he would fight again but that his next bout would be his last.

"Rocky Marciano, (Muhammad) Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Sugar Ray Robinson, you know it's no different from Ali, he called himself the greatest and this is my era, and in my era I'm TBE (The Best Ever)," Mayweather said.

"I'm going to relinquish all the belts. I made a decision in the back that my last fight may not be a championship fight. I'm going to give up all my belts, it's still going to be a 12 round fight but I'm going to relinquish all the belts."