It's been talked about for years: Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather. The fight boxing fans have been clamoring for. Except now, after Pacquiao's knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez, it won't ever happen.
The Pacquiao camp and the Mayweather camp have gone back and forth more times than some round-trip flights.
There have been debates about money, blood testing, location, legacy and, of course, money again. The two sides have gone round and round, never really making a move one way or the other.
Most people assumed the fight would eventually happen. They're the two best fighters of this generation.
It was almost destiny.
It was supposed to happen last May, then next December and then May again. But it never quite materialized.
And now, after Pacquiao's knockout, it never will.
The knockout, one of the few in Pacquiao's illustrious career, is a stain that will never disappear. He's a champion across multiple weight classes, one of the most exciting boxers to ever step in a ring and an all-time great. But the knockout can never be overlooked.
Boxing experts see this, fans see this and you can bet Mayweather can see it.
Now, what does Mayweather have to gain from the fight?
He's Floyd "Money" Mayweather, the undefeated champion. He walks around with 43-0 stamped across his chest.
Why risk all of that to take on a fighter on the downturn?
He would have everything to lose with little to gain.
Sure, he could receive a large payday. But, he'd do that in any fight.
Forbes named him as the world's highest-paid athlete earlier this year. He made $85 million from June 2011 to June 2012, an outrageous total when you consider that he only participated in two bouts.
He makes money either way. Mayweather is a brand, and now that Pacquiao has been knocked out that brand has nothing to gain from this fight.
Will Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather ever fight?
People will call Mayweather out for being scared or greedy. But the truth is: he's just smart.
Why risk your entire legacy when there is nothing to gain?
Pacquiao is likely the only fighter alive in his weight class capable of beating him, so why risk it?
It just doesn't make sense.
Mayweather has been hesitant to make a deal with Pacquiao in the past, and now he'll likely be even more reclusive on the subject.
Rumors will swirl, but the dream fight will most likely never happen.
Pacquiao will probably fight Marquez a fifth time, and Mayweather will continue to receive large paydays to beat people well below his skill level.
And it will go on like this. Mayweather is 35, and Pacquiao is 33. They’re in no way young in the boxing world. This means the clock is ticking for this fight to happen.
The ball is likely in Mayweather's court after Pacquiao's loss, and you can bet he'll hold it until the shot clock expires.
He doesn't have enough to gain to make this fight worth it to him.
It's sad, but the fight everyone has dreamed of for years was likely knocked out along with Pacquiao on Saturday night.