Floyd Mayweather is no longer the prime showpiece of HBO boxing.
Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) announced Feb. 19 that he has packed up his boxing gloves and left HBO for Showtime (via the New York Daily News).
It's a great move for Showtime considering Mayweather is widely acknowledged to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
Mayweather announced his decision at the same time he made his May 4 fight vs. Robert Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) official. That welterweight championship fight will be broadcast on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
Mayweather is about to turn 36 years old. He signed a deal to fight six times for Showtime over a 30-month period.
By the time the deal is over, Mayweather would likely be ready to hang up his boxing gloves. This brings back the idea that a fight against Manny Pacquiao could happen.
It's a long way from reality and there are several obstacles. But if Mayweather is going to fight six times, why couldn't one of those fights be with Pacquiao?
That has been the headline match that boxing fans have clamored for for years. It has long been discussed, but it has never gotten out of the talking phase.
The chances for the fight seemed to hit a major reversal when Pacquiao was knocked out by longtime rival Juan Manuel Marquez in the sixth round of their December 2012 bout.
Pacquiao has not announced his future boxing plans, but the fact that he did not retire in the immediate days following the defeat almost certainly means he will return to the ring.
Tim Smith of the New York Daily News reports that a fifth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez is being discussed as a possibility for June.
If Pacquiao can reverse his most recent fortunes and find a way to beat Marquez by knocking him out or with a convincing decision, that would put a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight on the drawing board.
While Pacquiao is affiliated with HBO, he has fought on Showtime in the past. If the two fighters really wanted to make the fight happen, they could do it.
It would almost certainly involve appeasing HBO in some way, but the network would not want to be known for stopping a generational fight that would allow boxing to claim center stage in the sporting world for the first time in many years.
However, both fighters would have to do their part. Pacquiao would have to prove he is worthy, and Mayweather would have to beat Guerrero and truly want to get in the ring with Pacquiao.
If he doesn't want that to happen, Showtime will find other opponents for Mayweather.
But no fight would sell on pay-per-view like Mayweather-Pacquiao.