HARLEM— The crowd was hyped, the music was loud and two gold-colored thrones sat on the stage of the Apollo Theater during the second leg of Floyd "Money" Mayweather and Miguel Cotto's tour to promote their upcoming title bout in Las Vegas.
The event had all of the pomp and circumstance of a big-time boxing match but none of the venom as the men shook hands and even complimented one another, with Mayweather calling Cotto "one of the best."
"It was a dream of mine to come to the Apollo," Mayweather said as his entourage, including rapper 50 Cent, looked on. "I never thought I would be on this stage."
But all the niceties will end when the brawlers get in the ring, Mayweather reminded the crowd.
"When it comes down to it, it's one on one," he said.
The world-class boxers will meet for the WBA super welterweight world championship at the MGM Grand on May 5.
"I want this day to pass quickly and get training," Cotto said. "On May 5, I'm going to make every Puerto Rican proud."
The event, which was open to the public, drew hundreds of people who formed a line in front of the Apollo that snaked around the block.
Mayweather, 35, is 42-0 with 26 knockouts. He is moving up to 154 pounds to fight Cotto and seek his eighth title in his sixth weight class.
He said fighting Cotto, who is 37-2, was a piece of a "puzzle" that would allow him to solidify himself as one of the best fighters ever.
"To be the best, you have to beat the best and he's one of the best fighters today," Mayweather said.
The other piece in that puzzle is the long-awaited showdown between Mayweather and Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao. The fight details have not been set because the two sides have not been able to agree on money and drug testing.
"Pacquiao is an amazing fighter. If you don't got nothing to hide, take the test," Mayweather said of the Olympic-style drug testing that promoters say he and Cotto both agreed to for the May 5 fight.
Some Cotto fans screamed that Mayweather should "worry about Cotto" before moving on to a future fight.
But Mayweather, who seemed to relish the role of the villain, smiled through it all.
"There's no fans like New York fans," he said.