Floyd Mayweather as a welterweight champion
Boxing is at its end in mainstream popularity and needs its heroes and villains to do battle on the world's greatest stage.
The problem is that they refuse to do so.
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are certified future Hall of Famers, but they are also powerful men with inflated egos.
If Mayweather-Pacquiao does not happen, both men will receive a healthy amount of blame. Here are reasons why this superfight must take place.
Miguel Cotto being beaten bloody by Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have beaten a Who's Who of the welterweight division.
There's such a dearth of competition that the two warriors have searched alternate divisions for their next foes.
Pacquiao faces Timothy Bradley of the junior welterweight division on June 9, while Mayweather goes after Miguel Cotto's junior middleweight title on May 5.
If these two don't fight each other, they'll move up too far or grab someone too small for a fight.
47-year-old Bernard Hopkins in the middle of a defeat to 29-year-old Chad Dawson
Bernard Hopkins becoming a world champion at 46 years old is a rare thing in a sport that punishes fighters for aging.
Mayweather and Pacquiao are 35 and 33 years old respectively. Their styles that depend on reflex and speed do not fare kindly in the war against age.
Roy Jones being battered by Hopkins
Bernard Hopkins vs. Roy Jones was a matchup that at first came too early in 1993 and then too late in 2010.
Somewhere in the middle of the 17-year gap between 1993 and 2010 is where Hopkins vs. Jones could have happened in both men's physical primes and popularity peaks.
The fight instead came near the end of both men's careers and in a time when nobody demanded the fight. As of now, Pacquiao vs. Mayweather is still in demand.
But for how long?
Mayweather outboxing Zab Judah
Floyd Mayweather comes from a long line of slick Black American boxers.
There was Roy Jones and Pernell Whitaker before Mayweather. Before Whitaker, there was Sugar Ray Leonard.
Every generation has its premier slick black American athlete. Pacquiao has defeated many of the premier Mexican fighters of this generation, but has yet to face the premier black American.
Yes, Pacquiao defeated a 39-year-old Shane Mosley, but Mayweather is more in his prime and widely considered the best black American fighter of this generation.
If Pacquiao beats him, his career is as complete as it ever could be.
Manny Pacquiao stopping Erik Morales
Sugar Ray Leonard had to put his defensive skills on display against Roberto Duran's "Hands of Stone."
Pernell Whitaker showed his greatness against Julio Cesar Chavez, a legendary Mexican fighter with a fierce body attack.
Like those previous to him, Floyd Mayweather must face the greatest offensive force of his generation, Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao has both speed and power. Mayweather's past foes have had either one or the other or moderate doses of both, but never both in devastating amounts.
A win over Pacquiao would cement his legacy.
The endorsement deals Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have received up to now have earned them millions, but how many endorsement deals will flood them when they fight each other?
They each represent entirely different markets. Companies that don't even associate themselves with boxing will start to shell out money for their product to be shown during Mayweather-Pacquiao.
There will be bidding wars for sponsorship deals on everything from branding on Ring girl outfits to the boxers' trunks and shoes, Mayweather Pacquiao will reap the highest dollar available if they fight.
Floyd Mayweather has continually accused Manny Pacquiao of using illegal substances.
Pacquiao should want to agree to go under the random blood drug-testing program that Mayweather requires of all his fighters to shut him up.
Mayweather's comments, no matter their validity, have been said repeatedly and reinforced by Pacquiao's reluctance to finally say yes to blood drug testing.
If he takes the fight, takes the test and at least puts on an amazing effort, his legacy will be left unharmed and actually improved—win or lose.
Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley and now Miguel Cotto have all become similar opponents for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
Mayweather and Pacquiao draw too many comparisons and arguments from facing each other's opponents using very different approaches.
The argument should be taken out of the sports fans' comment columns and website forums and debated with fists in the ring.
Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank first clashed in 1990 at the peak of their powers. Eubank was 24 and undefeated. Benn was 26 and the world champ.
Their clash became an instant classic that defined their careers. If Pacquiao and Mayweather want the kind of admiration that comes with those kind of fights, they'll need each other.
Eubank and Benn still get fans who chase them down for a photo and an autograph, because they gave the fans too many memories to ever forget.
Mayweather-Pacquiao would be unforgettable.
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have been fighting for nearly two decades.
While they may say they'll fight this many times or that many times, what they're really saying is that they'll keep fighting until the right time.
The story of a fighter's career is one that has a unique beginning, an amazing climax and then a conclusion to forever remind fans why they fell in love with that fighter.
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is the ultimate way to leave the sport, win or lose, for both fighters. The praise and adulation will be immense and they won't be expected to do one more thing in the ring.