It had to end eventually. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have given fans so many great moments in the 21st century, but it's time to pass the torch to the next generation.

Unfortunately for boxing fans, we never got to watch Mayweather and Pacquiao face off against one another in the prime of their careers. Hopefully this generation can rise to the challenge with fights highlighting the best of the best. Excluding Pacquiao, who is obviously past his prime, the top 10 welterweight fighters today are all under the age of 33. Fans couldn't ask for much more of a promising future.

But who? Who is set to become the next "big thing" in the welterweight boxing world moving forward?

There are so many potential suitors. Notable candidates such as Kell Brook, Amir Khan, Keith Thurman, Timothy Bradley and Saúl Álvarez could all take over in 2016. Let's also not forget about Danny Garcia. We've yet to see any of these five fighters go at it yet, but a few of them have had their opportunities against Mayweather or Pacquiao. Alverez will take on Miguel Cotto in a huge Latin American match this upcoming weekend in one of the most anticipated fights of the year.

Alverez is favored to beat Cotto, but if he loses, it would be devastating for his career and legacy. Cotto is 10 years older, and if Alverez loses, he will be 0-2 against top competition. Alverez previously lost to Mayweather in 2012 via majority decision.

Many boxing fans feel Thurman is the next big superstar in boxing because he has one of the most lethal right hooks in the sport today. Thurman is a perfect 26-0 in his career with 22 knockouts. More and more Thurman is showing great technical skills that could grant him the big fight he so desires. Thurman hasn't faced anyone of a high regard yet, but eventually he will get his chance.

Brook and Khan, who both hail from the United Kingdom, are two interesting boxers who have great potential. Brook has never lost a fight in his career, however he, like Thurman, gets criticized for never defeating a great opponent yet. It would be great to watch Khan and Brook go at it for 12 rounds. Timothy Bradley is a similar fighter to both Brook and Khan, and with a 33-1 record, he is always a threat to beat anyone.

And then there's Danny Garcia. "Swift" made his welterweight debut this year against Paulie Malignaggi, and he looked fantastic. Garcia is a very quick boxer with fast hands, even though he does lack the huge knockout power that we see from Thurman. He scored a huge victory over Khan in 2012. Garcia is just 27 years old, and he's ready to make a name for himself. Rumors have been circulating that Garcia and Khan could meet again in 2016.

The future of boxing shows a lot of promise for the 147-pound weight class. Regardless of who you root for, you just want to see great boxing on display. The big question now is who will take over as the next superstar in the sport?

Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1