Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. had some good times together over the years. They laughed. They cried. They fought. No, wait. They didn’t do any of those things. Them laughing, crying and fighting is what would have happened if they ever agreed to the Dream Match that the whole world begged them for non-stop over the span of about three years.

My mistake.

Pacquiao and Mayweather spent most of the time between 2009 and 2012 tantalizing boxing fans with the prospect of a super fight, only to repeatedly pull out of negations at the last moment. Eventually, right before Pacquiao’s Dec. 2012 showdown against Juan Manuel Marquez, folks sort of came to grips with the fact that this thing probably wasn’t going to happen. Then, when Pacquiao lost, it sort of sunk in that, yeah, this is really over.

Fortunately, boxing fans didn’t have to wait long for the next potential superfight. Five months after hope of Pacquiao-Mayweather vanished, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez defeated Austin Trout in impressive fashion to officially establish himself as boxing’s Next Big Thing. And as boxing’s Next Big Thing, Alvarez now has first dibs on its Old Big Thing – Mayweather.

The one knock on Alvarez heading into his bout against Trout was that he hadn’t really defeated anyone of note. If you listened to his critics, the 22-year-old brawler needed to prove himself a little more before he could be mentioned in the same breath as the sport’s elite. Well, done. By taking down an extremely formidable foe in Trout, Alvarez cemented his status as a superstar.

There is no debating that Alvarez has earned his shot at Mayweather. Whether Mayweather will actually give it to him or not is a different story. Mind you, Pacquiao and Mayweather didn’t dance around each for as long as they did by accident. Both men knew exactly what they were doing. Prolonging their match was something that they did by design. They realized that could milk other fights, all the while promising a Dream Match, and fans would still salivate over the prospect of them fighting. They were mostly right – but then they prolonged it a little too long.  

Will Mayweather, who still has five fights on his Showtime deal after the Robert Guerrero bout, want to take on a guy who may potentially take a sledgehammer to his undefeated mark? Probably not. And therein lays the reason why Alvarez will become Mayweather’s new arch nemesis. If they were to simply fight, then that would be that. They’d trash talk for a bit. They’d brawl. And then they’d move on. Because they can’t fight, folks will experience the same sort of thing we saw between Pacquiao and Mayweather. A lot of talk. A lot of idle threats. Many, many promises. And very little action in the foreseeable future.