For six years, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have starred in a tragedy, a tale of two egos too big to see the obvious. It's the story of elite fighters abandoning their obligation to themselves, each other and the sport they love. Disputes over drug testing, money and merit flooded the media on a routine basis.
Since 2009, the two have been both the biggest names and the best fighters in a sport that desperately needed a hit to sustain it, at least in the eyes of the mainstream. Whether you were Team Mayweather or Team Pacquiao, everyone agreed that these were the best fighters in the business. That they couldn't come together to render the debate moot made boxing the laughingstock of the sports world.
As time passed and both men approached their 40s, primes long left to history, it appeared it would never happen. Every time it looked to be close, every time fight fans dared to dream, the rug would be pulled violently from beneath our feet.
Again and again, we've been forced to accept lesser fights, knowing that the two best fighters in the world occupied the same weight class, sport and planet yet refused to meet in the ring.
All of that disappointment and acrimony, however, was washed away with the announcement that the fight would, finally, take place May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
None of that matters now. The past is suddenly, shockingly, irrelevant. All that matters is the contest, two men, still among the world's best, settling their score the old-fashioned way. Money, vanity and trash talk all disappear when the bell rings.
That's when actions will speak, their voice clear and authoritative. This isn't a dispute for the newspapers, blogs or podcasts that will discuss it to death over the next three months. Each fighter will present his case with his fists. May the better man win.
As always, our expert team of boxing analysts has taken a stab at predicting what will happen in the ring that night. We'll each pick a winner and attempt to justify it. Disagree? Give us your best guess in the comments.