On Saturday, Nov. 23, the boxing world will shift its attention to a familiar face: Manny Pacquiao. The embattled superstar will look to snap a two-fight losing streak when he goes toe-to-toe with Brandon Rios for the vacant WBO International Welterweight title.
Should he win, Pacquiao would warrant Floyd Mayweather's attention for a future fight.
Pacquiao, 34, and Mayweather, 36, have been compared to one another for the better part of the past decade. For every magnificent display of power by Pacquiao, there's been an equally as impressive example of defensive prowess and unparalleled accuracy by Mayweather.
According to ESPN UK, legendary trainer Freddie Roach believes that the fight between the two legendary ring tacticians will one day transpire.
"Every big fight that was supposed to happen in boxing happens somewhere along the way, I just hope this one isn't going to happen too late when they're both washed up and not the same," Roach said. "Then they're just doing it for the money, anyway."
"I still have hope. Mayweather's in the same position [Pacquiao] is. You've only got eight fighters in the world that can sell on pay-per-view and make money. That's why I give it a shot."
It's hard to disagree with that last point.
With all due respect to today's class of boxers, there aren't many proven commodities that Mayweather hasn't already dismantled. There are rising forces who have earned Mayweather's consideration and veterans who have come on strong, but at this very moment, there isn't a single fighter that Money needs to face.
If Pacquiao wins, that would change.
Pacquiao may be on a two-fight losing streak, but he's also 54-5-2 with 38 knockouts. He's won major belts in six separate weight classes, and he has defeated the biggest names in the boxing world.
Do you still want to see Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao?
Who better for Mayweather to solidify his legacy against than the one man who boxing pundits have put in his class of ability?
It may not have the luster that it would've two-to-five years ago, but that doesn't mean the fight shouldn't happen. These are the two titans of our generation, and the only way to truly determine which one is the greatest is to have them go toe-to-toe in a long-awaited super-fight.
If you're not on board with that theory, then try to name a fight that would make Mayweather more money than battling Pac-Man.
Other options include the undefeated Timothy Bradley Jr. and Adrien Broner at welterweight and the 52-2-2 Sergio Martinez at middleweight. Those are viable options that would generate a great deal of hype, but Pacquiao is still the biggest asterisk on Mayweather's resume.
Love him or hate him, finally putting the "What if?" conversation to an end would do nothing but benefit "Pretty Boy" Floyd in the all-time conversation.
Admittedly, a case could be made that Pacquiao needs to win a follow-up fight to his clash with Rios in order to earn a shot at the world's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. He lost to Bradley Jr., a contender to face Mayweather, and was knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez in his previous bout.
Rios, 27, is 31-1-1, and while his resume may lack a signature victory, he's been a WBA and WBO Lightweight champion. That creates the potential for a victory that impresses the media enough to inspire talks of Pacquiao versus Mayweather.
Then again, when haven't they existed?
Pacquiao's upcoming fight against Rios will give him the opportunity to secure championship gold. Should he earn the WBO International Welterweight title, Pacquiao would instantly be in line for a high-profile bout, whether it's with Mayweather or not.
More importantly, a win over Rios would put Pacquiao back on Mayweather's radar.