What could have been is no longer a question. Manny Pacquiao might never fight in the United States again, while Floyd Mayweather is headed towards the biggest fight, at least in terms of money, of the last few years, facing Canelo Alvarez which afterwards, if Mayweather wins his 45th career fight, it’s really going to get really boring.

Because part of the reason Maywweather kept crossing the 1 million PPV buys was the prospect of him eventually agreeing to fight Manny Pacquiao at the end of the road. The popularity of Pacquiao had a lot to do with that future fight as well, but he offered something else than Mayweather, which was actually putting on a show in most of his fights, but that factor also started to wain over the last few years, before he got knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez and it really didn’t matter anymore.

Canelo, Mayweather

Once Mayweather had to put on a show without Pacquiao waiting at the end of the road, it didn’t work out so well. Showtime lost a lot of money on Mayweather’s fight with Robert Guerrero, his first since coming out of prison, which should have done a little bit better considering the excitement factor his first fight in nearly a year should have generated. Sure, taking it away from HBO and doing a bad promotion job was also at fault from selling around 850,000 PPV units, but even with all of the publicity in the world, there just wasn’t the usual buzz heading into the fight.

Alvarez is something different. Juan Manuel Marquez might be the most popular Mexican fighter, but his best days are behind him. Alvarez? He’s the next great thing. Only 22 years old, with a 42-0-1 record, and an impressive win over Austin Trout. A light-middleweight champion, not that title belts mean anything. It’s only about what you can bring to the table in terms of viewers, and on September 14, there’s nothing better than fighting against a Mexican fighter.

But while Mayweather and his camp keep talking about cementing his legacy as the greatest fighter in history after signing a six-fight deal with Showtime, it’s only about money. Alvarez might not provide the professional stimulant and challenge Mayweather needs to somehow improve his worth in the eyes of those who think he hasn’t done enough in his career, or at least not as much as he should have, but there really isn’t anything better or “hotter” to fight at the moment.

Mayweather, Canelo

At a catchweight of 152, obviously Mayweather has the edge. Alvarez usually fights at much bigger than the 154 lbs of his title belt, while Mayweather probably feels quite comfortable at 152-156, sometimes weighing less than that going into a fight, like against Miguel Cotto. It’s always about finding the comfortable way to fight, instead of at least giving people the idea that he’s looking for the toughest fight possible.

But Mayweather missed that train. He avoided fighting Manny Pacquiao for years, and is suddenly paying for it in terms of interest. Money? He’ll have it, unless there are finer details in the contract with Showtime. But Mayweather simply isn’t as intriguing to watch without that one great rival that was always around, and now has only one fight left before probably wasting our time with four more meaningless fights before he retires.