Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao (137266)

Saturday night, 38-year-old Floyd Mayweather and 36-year-old Manny Pacquiao will meet at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a welterweight bout that theoretically will determine who is the so-called best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

It is one of the most exceedingly publicized and globally marketed boxing matchups in the history of the sport. Whereas countless journalists and fight fans have fed the hype machine, pushing the event into revenues that will likely produce a payout of at least $100 million for both Mayweather and Pacquiao, this reporter, who has covered dozens of mega-fights dating back to Mike Tyson’s heyday, views the contest as nothing more than an alarming reflection of the desperate state of boxing and a case study of people’s obsession with validation and closure.

Many want the fight to be a historic moment, some to help define their generation and others to have a visceral connection to an occasion that transcend eras. A wishful Ali-Frazier I Fight of the Century reincarnation, or even a card Don King, the preeminent boxing promoter of all-time, used to regularly stage. But the harsh reality is this is an epic fight in name only and likely the sport’s last major clash for the foreseeable future.

Yes, it will generate unprecedented revenues as a result of the polarizing Mayweather’s force of personality and the deep desire of millions for Pacquiao knock Money May’s head off. But strip away the branding brilliance and the fight is way down on the list of truly great pairings.

Although the 47-0 Mayweather, one of the best pugilist ever, is still a tremendous ring master, and the 57-5-2 Pacquiao remains an extraordinary talent inside the squared circle, the fight is at least three years past its expiration date to be authentically legendary, no matter the outcome.