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Biggest Fight Purses of Richest Boxer in the World, ‘Billionaire’ Floyd Mayweather

Published 02/26/2023, 12:25 PM EST

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Boxing invites big money. Rather than an aberration, it has instead been the norm. Reportedly for the 1974’s “Rumble in the Jungle,” the great Muhammad Ali received $5 million. Things changed during the last two decades of the twentieth century. Throughout the 90s, whether against Donovan Ruddock, Evander Holyfield, or Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson‘s paychecks hovered in the $30 – $35 million neighborhood. But unbeknownst to most, boxing purses started witnessing skyrocketing variance by the turn of the twenty-first century. But it was not the Heavyweight division that saw the surge.

Floyd Mayweather Jr, the heir to an outstanding boxing lineage, turned professional a few months after winning a bronze medal for his country in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. By 1998, he had won his first world title. After that, there was no looking back for the young prodigy who onboarded five divisions in a two-decade-long career. Ensuring a win in each bout became a habit for him. However, his technical brilliance inside the ring was not the only feature that attracted significant headlines. For a few of his fights, the paychecks that he received made fans and followers reckon Floyd Mayweather Jr. as the new powerhouse of boxing.

Floyd Mayweather’s biggest payday

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The boxing’s first-ever billionaire started receiving hefty paychecks from 2005 fights. Reportedly, he made $3.2 million against Arturo Gatti. For his next fight against Carlos Baldomir on November 4, 2006, Mayweather received $8 million. For the Oscar De La Hoya fight, his fight purses turned to double digits. For the May 2007 fight against ‘The Golden Boy,’ Floyd Mayweather Jr. took home $25 million.

But a drastic alteration in his paycheck was observed during the bout against Canelo Alvarez on September 13, 2013. Two years later, Mayweather Jr. broke all existing records as far as the fight purse was concerned.

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Vs. Manny Pacquiao

The talks for a fight between two great contemporaries, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, had been in the air since 2009. However, it wasn’t until 2014 some concrete steps went underway to make the fight happen. Finally, on May 2, 2015, the two most great boxers of recent times clashed at MGM Grand Arena in Nevada. The WBA, WBC, WBO, and The Ring Welterweight titles were at stake for the “Fight of The Century.”

The fight lasted twelve rounds, with the five-division champion Mayweather Jr. establishing clear dominance over the eight-division champion from the Philippines. Though much criticized by critics and many fans for not living up to the standards, the fight set a new record regarding pay-per-view (PPV) subscriptions. Reportedly, the event recorded an astonishing 4.6 million purchases.

However, it was the fight purse that turned heads. Floyd Mayweather Jr. received $250 million, while Pacquiao netted $150 million. In terms of overall revenue, by generating more than $600 million, the fight broke the record previously held by the Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez match.

Vs. Conor McGregor

Four months after the Pacquiao fight, Floyd Mayweather Jr. fought Haitian-American former Welterweight champion Andre Berto on September 12. Though he unanimously won the forty-ninth match of his career and received $35 million, ‘Money’ Mayweather decided it was time to hang the gloves for good.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor exchange words at a press tour news conference at Barclays Center on July 13, 2017, in New York City. The two will fight in a boxing match in Las Vegas on August 26, 2017. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxONLY NYP20170713102 JASONxSZENES

But two years later, a yearning to end his career with a neat fifty-nil score brought Mayweather Jr. back. But unlike the past instances, his opponent though a fighter par excellence was not a dyed-in-the-wool boxer. Conor McGregor, a two-division mixed martial artist, was the reigning UFC Lightweight champion. The two met on August 26, 2017, at Nevada’s T Mobile Arena. Though forty years old, Mayweather Jr. confirmed why he was ranked the pound-for-pound best boxer of the last twenty-five years. He won “The Money Fight” or “The Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History” with a thumping tenth-round technical knockout.

Initially, $100 million were guaranteed for Mayweather Jr. whereas, for McGregor, $30 million. But eventually, as it came about, the American boxer’s purse in the last professional fight swelled by nearly $300 million, while his Irish challenger received roughly $100 million. Regarding the PPV purchases, the battle had fallen short of the Pacquiao fight, but the overall revenue generation exceeded $600 million.

Vs. Canelo Alvarez

Before he fought Manny Pacquiao and Conor McGregor, the fight that became the trendsetter in terms of fight purse took place at Nevada’s MGM Grand Arena on September 14, 2014. Mayweather Jr.’s opponent was then twenty-three years old, WBC Light Middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Billed “The One,” the fight ended with a majority decision win for ‘Money’ Mayweather.

Reportedly, a record-breaking 2.2 million purchases were made for the Pay Per View (PPV). Though guaranteed $41.5 million, Mayweather Jr. received $75 million. Meanwhile, $5 million landed in Canelo’s kitty.

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There were many other fights where Floyd Mayweather Jr. made impressive figures. Though they were not record-breaking by any stretch, they established his reputation as one the most bankable boxers of the modern era.

Vs. Miguel Cotto

The foray into the Light Middleweight division saw Floyd Mayweather Jr. win the WBA title against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. Five years later, he challenged the reigning WBA (Super) Light Middleweight champion, Miguel Cotto. As a result, they met at the MGM Grand Arena on May 5, 2012. Labeled “Ring Kings,” Mayweather Jr. outclassed the Puerto Rican and won the match unanimously.

For the fight, he reportedly received $45 million (guaranteed $32 million). Cotto, on the other hand, earned $8 million from the bout. Individual purses apart, the fight saw 1.5 million PPV purchases, which generated revenue worth $94 million. At the time, it was the second-highest grosser after the Mayweather Jr. – Oscar De La Hoya fight in boxing.

Vs. Marcos Maidana I & II

A year after the bout against Canelo, Floyd Mayweather Jr. fended off the Argentine Marcos Maidana‘s challenge twice within four months. First, they met on May 3. Their fight, “The Moment,” stretched to the twelfth round. A boxer with an established reputation for a strong chin, Maidana gave a good account of himself. As a result, Mayweather Jr. had to content himself with a win by a majority decision. The PPV sales of the fight fell short of the million mark but generated revenue to the tune of $58 million. Floyd Mayweather Jr. made roughly $40 million against a $32 million guarantee. Marcos Maidana received around $1.5 million.

Four months later, on September 13, the American and the Argentinian boxer met again at the MGM Grand Arena. Though the match, called “Mayhem,” took the complete twelve rounds, Mayweather Jr. came out the better fighter and won unanimously in their rematch. In terms of the PPV, the second bout fared better than the first edition and brought in roughly $60 million. Regarding their paychecks, Mayweather Jr. received $32 million, while Maidana $3 million.

After bidding goodbye to professional boxing in 2017, ‘Money’ Mayweather despite being on the wrong side of forty, decided on a comeback through exhibition fights.

Vs. Logan Paul

After winning the first exhibition bout against the Japanese mixed martial artist Tenshin Nasukawa on December 31, 2018, Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s second match took place against YouTuber Logan Paul at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium on June 6, 2021. It was an eight-round nonscoring fight.

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Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s purse for the Logan Paul fight fetched $35 million. Labeled “The Bragging Rights,” it reportedly sold over a million PPVs.

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Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s career earnings

According to Celebrity Net Worth, if Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s purse per fight from the Arturo Gatti fight till Logan Paul’s exhibition is totaled, it roughly comes to a staggering $1.2 billion. Not to be discounted, he reportedly made around $2 million from fifteen fights preceding the 2005 Gatti bout. An additional $25 million fell into his kitty through endorsements and boxing merchandise.

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Watch This Story: How Much Did Floyd Mayweather Make from His Exhibition Bouts?

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Written by:

Jaideep R Unnithan

1,611Articles

One take at a time

After completing 18 years in the corporate sector, Jaideep decided to make a move out of the comfort zone and follow his heart's calling to becoming a writer. His understanding of Boxing began with Iron Mike's debut as an 18 year old in 1985. Like anyone and everyone else, he holds Muhammad Ali as the greatest, though his personal favorite remains the 'PacMan' Manny Pacquiao for his speed and sheer toughness.
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Edited by:

Shibu Immanuel