As a lifelong boxing fan I can recall the moments where the fights that were suppose to happen did happen. Whether it's by way of mandatory challenge, or the usual historic, financial, and fan desired call for two top superstars in the sport to get it on once and for all. In the 1980s were as boxing fans were spoiled with mega fights. From Leonard-Duran, Leonard-Hearns, Hagler-Hearns, Hearns-Duran, Hagler-Duran, or Hagler-Leonard, there was a time in the sport where you put ego and superficiality aside for the sake of legendary status and how folks viewed your career when you finally hung up the Grants.
Even into the 1990s we were treated with big fights in the heavyweight, super middleweight, and middleweight division with Holyfied-Bowe I, II, and III, Bowe-Golota I and II, Jones Jr.-Hopkins, Jones Jr.-Toney, Benn-Eubank, McClellan-Benn, Collins-Eubank, Holyfield-Moorer. Sadly we never got Bowe-Tyson, Bowe-Lewis, Eubank-Toney, Collins-Jones Jr., Benn-Toney, Benn-Jones Jr., or Moorer-Tyson; but overall the 80s and 90s provided fans the fights they wanted to see. These days a truly detestable political ploy has taken hold of the sweet science. Today fighters, and the paying public are told that an undefeated record means more than whose name files under the win category for a star fighter or rising young prospect. For these reasons among many others equally political we'll never see Donaire-Mares, Donaire-Moreno, Rigondeaux-Donaire, Rios-Marquez, Chavez Jr.-Martinez, or Pacquiao-Mayweather. Money, ego, and the false security of an undefeated record coupled with the idea that tough fights for really good or great fighters somehow spell danger for said fighters is the reason we'll never get the mega fights of the golden era.
MMA and the UFC in particular could stand to learn one very important lesson from its combat sports cousin: Never allow the politics and monetary means justify the ends to what your company would like to accomplish. At the end of the day the fans make the sports world go round, no matter what Bob Arum and Roger Goodell might have you believe. I singled those two men out specifically because they are the two most powerful figures in their respected sport. They're also responsible for much of what's wrong with their sport today.