Five years of back and forth debate -- will they or won't they? -- finally produced one beautiful, long moment of silence for boxing Wednesday in the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles when Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao walked across a stage toward each other, stopped a yard apart and stared into each other's eyes for what seemed like forever.
As Mayweather said when it was his turn to speak during the only news conference scheduled to hype what promises to be the richest fight of all-time, "It's been a long road, but we're here now."
A fight many in the sport thought never would get made because of so many contentious issues between the two camps will take place May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas and be televised jointly by the pay-per-view outlets of Showtime, which has Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) under contract, and HBO, which backs Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs).
"It's going to be a historic fight," Pacquiao said. "To the fans of boxing, I believe this is what you have been waiting for since five years ago. The fight is on, and we will do our best on May 2 to make you happy."
The fighters originally had a deal to fight March 13, 2010, but it broke down over Mayweather's demand for random blood testing, which is part of the current agreement.
The long delay in matching the sport's two biggest stars prompted many to question whether Mayweather ever would risk his undefeated record against Pacquiao's unorthodox southpaw style.
In stepping to the plate Wednesday, Mayweather said, "I never wanted to win a fight so bad in my life. He wants to win it the way I want to win. One thing I know, when you lose, it's in your mind."
That was Mayweather's way of reminding Pacquiao that he lost twice in 2012, including when he was knocked cold by Juan Manuel Marquez, who barely touched Mayweather when they fought in 2009. But in a way, those losses by Pacquiao, 36, might have paved the way to this bout.
"Everything is about timing," said the 38-year-old Mayweather.
Both fighters took credit for the agreement that finally was reached. "This fight is happening because of me," Mayweather said. "I asked for the fight myself."
Pacquiao downplayed a coincidental meeting at a Miami Heat game on Jan. 28, saying he knew in November the fight could happen because of negotiations between the cable networks.
In the post-fight news conference after his lopsided decision over Long Island's Chris Algieri in Macau, Pacquiao called out Mayweather.
"I'm the one who pushed it to make that fight happen," Pacquiao said. "I agreed to what he wants to do. I agreed to 40-60 [purse split]."
The haggling is over now. Soon, it will be time to fight.