Unbeaten boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao owe it to boxing fans to fight each other before hanging up their gloves for good, according to Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera.
"Yes, I believe both Pacquiao owe it to the people to mix it up before they finally hang their fighting gloves," Barrera told Eddie Alinea of PhilBoxing.
"And when I say 'people,' I mean not only boxing denizens, but the entire sporting community as well," added the Mexican, who lost to Pacquiao twice in his career.
Some boxing analysts believe that while a potential Pacquiao-Mayweather bout would have been competitive a few years ago, now it is likely that the American champion will dominate the "Pacman."
But Barrera insisted that more than Pacquiao or Mayweather, it would be the fans who will end up winners should the two champions ever clash inside the ring.
"Of course, it is the people who will win," said Barrera. "It's the people who have been dreaming for this fight to be made, so if it pushes through, it is they who would emerge victorious."
"Not Manny, not Floyd. It's the fans," he said.
Fight fans have pined for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight for years, but several contentious issues – including promotional differences – have repeatedly scuttled negotiations. Pacquiao has repeatedly said, however, that his line is open 24/7 for Mayweather to call.
Barrera challenged Pacquiao and Mayweather to set aside their various issues and to simply give the people what they want.
"If both are true to their words – to entertain and make people happy – why not fight?" Barrera pointed out. "Why not forget pride, misunderstanding, and personal feud?"
"Boxing, like all sports, after all, is entertainment. It's all about making people forget their problems. Just imagine how many will be happy when they face each other."
For the former world champion, a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight will not just be the most lucrative fight in boxing history, it might as well be the "fight of the century."
"It will be a great fight (that) people will remember and cherish for the remainder of this century. It could be the making of the fight of the century, in fact,"” Barrera told Alinea.
"Being not only the finest welterweights and best boxes in their era, it is but natural that both satisfy those who have been following their colorful and successful boxing careers as to who between them is, indeed, the better fighter," he added.