A boxing promoter can make or break a career. They are the ones who schedule fights, handle negotiations and decide which fighters deserve a shot at the next level and those who don't.
If you're in, it can be a tremendously lucrative relationship, if you're out, it can go sour really, really fast.
Just as promoters can make fights happen, they can also prevent them from happening. Cross-promotional fights have always been something of a tricky business in the sport.
Each company looks to protect their big moneymakers and would rather see them lose to someone in their stable, who can then be marketed, than to a rival fighter.
The two biggest dogs in the yard of boxing promotion these days are Bob Arum's Top Rank and Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions.
Between these companies are the biggest stars in the sport including Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez and Nonito Donaire.
But unfortunately for boxing fans, the two companies simply do not, and will not, get along.
Fights between fighters on opposite sides of the promotional war have become a virtual impossibility. The bad blood that runs here is deeper than traditional rivalry and has already contributed to the derailing of several high-profile fights.
None, of course, have been bigger than the long talked about, but to this date never fulfilled, dream match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
While the promotional rivalry is not the only cause, though it's a large one, the lack of this fight being made in the past four years is a stain for the sport.
The money and hype for boxing it would've generated would've likely surpassed record numbers and provided the sport with the type of huge, transcending event it's lacked in recent years.
But short of this superfight, it seems that the effect on the sport of the rivalry has been a bit overblown.
The main source of acrimony between the companies stems from the personal relationship between the two main men behind each company. Simply put, Arum and De La Hoya don't like one another, and that is not likely to change any time soon.
The rivalry stems from when De La Hoya was a fighter, and promoted for much of his early career by Arum, and the two had a highly publicized and ugly split.
Both sides leveled accusations against the other, including charges of racism and throwing fights, that have remained a toxic impediment to this day.
While Mayeather vs. Pacquiao is obviously the biggest fight not to happen to date it is likely that this rivalry will also prevent other potential big matchups.
Donaire and Abner Mares are considered to be the top two 122-pound fighters in the world, but they likely won't see each other inside of the ring.
Brandon Rios and Lucas Matthysse would be an absolute war between two hard-hitting, all-action fighters, but again, cross it off your lists.
Anyone curious to see how a Danny Garcia or Adrien Broner would fare against Pacquiao? Or if Tim Bradley could solve the riddle of Floyd Mayweather?
Sadly, none of these fights even have the chance of advancing beyond the "what-if" hypothetical stage due to this rivalry.
But that doesn't mean that great fights cannot be made between these fighters and their stablemates.
Mayweather can and will likely fight Robert Guerrero and Alvarez this year. All of them are currently promoted by Golden Boy.
Donaire seems destined for a grudge match with fellow Top Rank fighter Guillermo Rigondeaux. Nobody will complain if that fight happens as both work for Top Rank.
Garcia and Broner may well end up fighting each other down the road, and if not, there's Matthysse, Guerrero and Amir Khan among others.
Even Pacquiao has options including rematches with Juan Manuel Marquez and Bradley.
It's ridiculous, as fans and commentators of the sport, to dwell on what hasn't happened or what is likely not to take place in the future.
This especially true when there are great potential matchups that could be made without ever having to worry about or discuss the rivalry between boxing's top two promotional outfits.
Sure, not having an answer to the question of who would've won a fight between a prime Mayweather and Pacquiao stings.
But it isn't the first time the sport of boxing and its fans have lost out on a potential superfight. And it likely won't be the last.
It stings, but it certainly doesn't spell the death knell for the sport.
Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank don't get along. It would help if they did, but the impact on the sport isn't nearly as bad as most desire to make it out to be.
Great fights still can, will and do happen—even if they're not necessarily all the fights we want to see.
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