When a boxing bout draws a massive crowd. The money earned in the ring is a bonus that keeps you going for the rounds to come. One major purse and the boxer can pick and choose his next opponent.
But which of the boxers draws the most cash? The promoters use their skill to build the hype and the anticipation so that by the time the contest arrives we are willing to pay huge sums to be in on the action. They want to maximise the earnings from pay-per-view, ticket sales, sponsorship, and many other revenue streams.
Here we explore the highest-grossing boxing bouts of all time to see if it is worth taking a punch or three. You will notice a theme as we take a stroll through the top-earning bouts of all-time. The common theme of Floyd Mayweather.
Mayweather vs. McGregor August 2017
Mayweather earned an impressive $275 million for his fight against the MMA specialist. The fight, a super welterweight, took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Conor McGregor, for losing, still earned a massive $85 million. Not bad for night’s work and a bruised pride (his face was pretty beaten up too!)
What made this bout different to most is that it was an exhibition bout between a top-flight boxer and the champion of the UFC. The natural competitiveness between the two sports of boxing and MMA raised the stakes, as did the draw from fans of both sports.
At the start of the bout the boxers were guaranteed a purse of $100 million and $20 million respectively, as the pay-per-view revenue really pushed up that final haul. Some 4.3 million people bought the right to watch the fight live.
Mayweather won with a technical knockout.
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao May 2015
Mayweather must have the best representatives in the game. Another top-grossing fight was against Manny Pacquiao. Whether the battle was a consequence of a year-long feud or whether the feud was a clever marketing ploy – it resulted in a match called “The Fight of the Century.”
The fact that fight was really dull and that Mayweather won on a unanimous points decision, the money earned was spectacular. Mayweather netted $250 million and Pacquiao $150 million that to the 4.6 million who paid to watch. Clearly the anticipation was better than the contest but who cares once the till has gone ker-ching.
Mayweather vs. Alvarez September 2013
Boxing in Las Vegas, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Mayweather earned a relatively modest $80 million in his fight against Canelo Alverez. For his part, as the defeated fighter, took home $12 million for his troubles.
Mayweather may have earned a substantially higher purse for this bout but Alvarez cashed in big time with a windfall of £365 million over 5 years from the streaming service DAZN.
Still, for Mayweather, who has earned $350 for the last few years in a row – the deal Alvarez managed was a small change.
Mayweather vs. De La Hoya May 2007
Back in the early days of his career, Mayweather was not the draw – it is hard to believe. Therefore, he had to feel satisfied with his $25 million for the split decision of the judges in his favour. Even though Oscar De La Hoya lost over the 12 rounds, he still took a stunning $52 million from the fight. We sense this might have acted as a suitable ointment for his woes that night.
For Mayweather, this fight earned him more than just a mighty haul of cash. He also took home the WBC Light Middleweight title at the same time.
The prize money from this fight still eclipsed the amount won by Tyson in his pomp–who only took home $30 million when he fought Holyfield in 1997–Evander Holyfield took the place at the top of the ticket but only took home another 5 percent on top.
Mayweather Is the Richest
You can have a serious debate about whether Mayweather is the greatest – or whether his fights deserve quite the hype they receive – but you can say he is the richest. After his fight with McGregor, he became the only boxer to ever become a billionaire. He is only a handful of sportspeople at all to reach this marker. The only other to get there is Tiger Woods with his historic golfing career.
It is not just his boxing skill that has served Mayweather along the way. He is a shrewd marketer and is able to put himself on the A-side of the ticket – the headliner – who gets the biggest ratio of the takings.
However, he also made a sound bet on himself – laying down a $750,000 bet on himself. It also doesn’t hurt that he goes out on his own – he dropped his promoter years ago – meaning he doesn’t have to split his winnings. A sound ploy if you are savvy enough to control your career and the hype that surrounds it.