Whether you agree with it or not, we all know that professional athletes make boatloads of money. If you’re lucky enough to be considered an elite performer than your contract can range upwards of $100 million. Basketball, football, baseball, hockey, take your pick because all of these sports can turn a poor man into a rich one. It appears though that no mainstream sport is capable of delivery a humungous payday quite like boxing.
Floyd Mayweather has been making at least $25 million a bout for the last nine fights dating back to 2007. Since the superstar boxer’s debut in 1996 after the Olympics, Mayweather has used his fists to make almost $400 million. Now consider that $105 million of that total has come in the last 12 months from a total of two fights that lasted a combined 72 minutes. Or $1.45 million for every minute he spent in the ring this year.
It has as made Mayweather sports greatest earner this year by far. Forbes has actually listed him as the cash king of sports for the second time within the last three years. His fight against Canelo brought in $150 million in Pay-Per-View sales and was marketed as “The One.” Mayweather took home $41.5 million for the fight with over 2 million viewers purchasing access to watch the world’s most exciting boxer. He also brought in $32 million for his bout in May against Maidana.
Though Mayweather reigns as the supreme earner of sports, he is not the only athlete to break off a giant piece of the cash pie. Cristiano Ronaldo has earned upwards of $80 million thanks to well negotiated contracts as well as endorsement deals with Emirates, Nike, Samsung Electronics and Toyota Motor that earn the soccer star $28 million annually. Lebron James ranks third on Forbes list with $72.3 million and has well known deals with Nike, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola , Upper Deck and owns a small piece of equity in Beats which was recently purchased by Apple.
It is quite wild that someone could be paid so much for putting a ball through a hoop or punching a man in the face repeatedly. Yet here we are. A society that values entertainment over education, and is willing to put its money where its mouth is. It’s not a new notion. Grievances have been aired for decades about athletic salaries. No one expects real change though. It just one more thing to talk about as we gather around our television sets for the next big event.
Forbes complete list of top earning athletes can be found here.
Money Mayweather regains his spot as the world’s highest-paid athlete. Photo: Forbes