It's early in the morning. You yawn, make some coffee, and meander over to the television. Time to flip on some Sportscenter before heading off to work. What you see shocks you a bit. ESPN is actually covering boxing news after effectively ignoring it for at least the last 10 years.
What kind of momentous event has awoken the sleeping giant? Was it a great fight or a stunning KO comeback? Was it yet another fight of the year candidate coming from Asia? No it wasn't about anything that happened in the ring. Was a big fight announcement? No. The even that made ESPN care about boxing for a millisecond was that Floyd Mayweather called out Manny Pacquiao via Twitter. There was no contract in place and there were no current negotiations. Just a simple couple of sentences got the world talking about boxing.
Why? Why do people who are normally not boxing fans want to see Mayweather fight Pacquiao?
There is a mythos in the matchup between #1 and #2. People just naturally get excited about this matchup because of what happens in other sports. When #1 faces #2, the winner is the undisputed best in that given sport. The clearest example of this phenomenon is the BCS in college football.
A somewhat arbitrary system ranks the two best teams, and then forces them to play each other for the crown at the end of the year. To connect it back to boxing, the regular season games are title eliminators with the BCS championship game being the one fight for the vacant title. I have no idea why this is true, but determining who is the best is more important than having an entertaining experience.
This concept is strange for something like sports, which is purely for entertainment purposes. Strangely the top talent is far more celebrated than the teams/people that have the ability to entertain. In football no one remembers the game of the year but most people remember the champion.
Whether #1 and #2 are determined via a tournament or by some ranking system, it is always a big even when the top two meet each other. This is why people want to see Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. They want to see who is the best boxer of this generation. It doesn't matter that the actual fight between these two will probably be somewhat boring. This fight will not be Ali-Frazier, not even close to it.
However, the spectacle behind the fight will be the real show. I don't need to tell you guys, but boxing will go on without a May-Pac fight and continue to produce great fights. True fans of boxing have nothing to worry about if this fight doesn't happen, whereas casual fans will bemoan the death of boxing.