JUST think - if in your mitts right now was a ringside ticket for tonight’s fight of the century.

Jeez, if would be like inheriting a major legacy, winning the pools (remember them), or getting a massive golden handshake (some chance).

In the lonely hours of Sunday morning, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas could well resemble the tower of Babel crashing into a beery, jeering and cheering bel - licose bedlam as punters strain every eye socket to get up close and personal glimpses of canvas com - batants Floyd Mayweather junior and Manny Pacquiao.

Not only is the battle to be the supreme welterweight on the planet the most money-generating collision in boxing folklore, it is also a match more than five years in the making as various shenanigans and schemes have kept the two apart.

All machinations, lawsuits, delays, fallings-out and plotting are over. The warriors will step through the ropes, the gloves will sound, the emcee will mangle the English language and the bell will sound.

Even though both men have been subject to more ravages of the word’s undisputed knockout champion - Father Time - the exasperating hold-up to putting the two together in the same ring has merely added to the the Croesus riches of the showdown.

It is estimated that the contest will generate in ticket sales, pay-per-view cash and other sky-high subscriptions, a pneumatically gross figure north of £330 million.

While the uncle of Peter Parker (alias, of course, Spiderman) declared that ‘with great power comes great responsibility’, so it is with Money (Mayweather’s flamboyant nickname) and Pacman (the epithet for his Filipino opponent). With mega-cash comes mega responsibility.

If tonight’s showdown evaporates in a cloud of mediocrity, or stalling, or feet on the treat, by the protagonists, then the reputation of professional boxing will suffer a further fraying of its apron.

Arguably before the respective reigns of Mayweather and Pacquiao - both interrupted briefly, through not winningly, by leading Briton Ricky Hatton - top-class boxing has been in stasis since the days of heavyweight kings Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson.

And with the exception of the initial brutal burst of the tyro Tyson, boxing has not truly engaged the entire globe since the middleweight magic of Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard.

That quartet tore away the mantle of monopoly previously unchallenged by the heavyweight division and a golden age that spanned more than eight decades.

Back in those days when titans like Jack Johnson, James J Corbett, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield and, of course the Greatest, Muhammad Ali, tripped off the tongue as household names, boxing held millions in thrall.

Mayweather and Pacquiao will not emulate that all-encompassing era, but it could come close, especially if a classic contest is produced.

Whether as a right old tear-up, or as a technical master-class of two foes, who might not be at their peak, but still possess the most sublime and potentially lethal skills, tonight’s contest could prove so valuable.

It could again capture the public imagination, though that task is not as easy as it was given how television coverage is now dominated by pay per view channels.

An extra dimension to the first meeting of the two is that it is so hard to call.

Close in age and still closer in skill, stealth and fortitude, the rivals have their respective merits.

Mayweather’s so far unblemished record of 47 wins from 47 fights suggests he has the edge, but against that is the man - feted as an icon in his native Philippines - is two years younger, which could yet prove a telling factor.

The American’s reputation as a money-orientated braggart, who has done jail time for domestic abuse, has prompted increased support for Pacquiao as the underdog.

And if he was to triumph then it would surely pave the way for a re-match.

First though, the duo have to ensure tonight’s collision is not simply a meeting of hype and moolah. Otherwise, the reputations of Mayweather and Pacquiao will be tarnished as will the status of professional boxing.