Mayweather and Pacquiao top highest-paid athletes list

Posted on Jun 20, 2012

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao literally put paid to the ‘boxing is dead’ proclamations this week by topping Forbes list of the highest-paid athletes in the world.

Forbes.com named Mayweather its highest-paid athlete over the last year. Mayweather earned $85 million (£54m), knocking golfer Tiger Woods out of the top spot that he has held since 2001.

Woods fell to third behind another boxer and Mayweather’s main rival, Manny Pacquiao, who earned $62m (£39.5m). Woods took home $59.4m (£37.8m).

What’s more Mayweather, who is currently serving an 87-day jail sentence in Las Vegas, earned his $85m for a little more than an hour's work in the ring.

He knocked out Victor Ortiz in the fourth round last September, earning $40m, then dispatched Miguel Cotto by a unanimous 12-round decision on May 5, taking home $45m.

Because Mayweather acts as his own promoter, he maximizes his earnings. His company, Mayweather Promotions, collects all of the revenue from tickets, pay-per-view and sponsorships and covers the costs, including the purse for his opponent.

His earnings per fight is about 50 percent higher than Pacquiao, who is promoted by Top Rank, earns and none of it comes from endorsements whereas Pacquiao had $6m in endorsements.

Pacquiao took home $56m for his fights with Juan Manuel Marquez and Tim Bradley, but the Filipino superstar has become boxing's biggest advertising magnet, doing endorsements for Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Monster Energy and Hennessy.

The pair have been wrangling over negotiations for a mega-fight over the last couple of years now and if they do finally get it on are set to break records as the sport’s most lucrative contest of all time.