Just as the professional sports leagues benefit from having powerhouse franchises like the Yankees, Patriots, Steelers and Lakers, individual sports like boxing largely live and die with their superstars.
Long lists can be drawn up of the great, good and solid professionals who put on epic fights during the golden era of the 1940's and 50's, but the fight game of that time period was headlined into immortal status in the first place by major stars like Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano and Jake Lamotta.
The 1970's was a decade filled with quality heavyweights, but the reason everybody was paying attention then and remembers to this day is because of main event tilts staged by Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman.
This is the age of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. A lot of the best fights of the past few years have been spiced up by the fact that they have served as potential auditions for status as a Pacman or Money opponent.
But Floyd Mayweather is 35 and currently incarcerated. Pacquiao is 33, fresh off his first loss in seven years (technically, anyway) and frankly seems more interested in Bible study and NBA basketball than in continuing much longer as a major pay-per-view star.
Neither star is going anywhere right away. But it's hard not to feel like the sport is nearing the end of an era.
A number of potential superstars are poised to fill the vacuum they will leave behind. \
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