In the world of professional boxing there’s huge money being thrown around. The best of the best can rake in serious dollars from winning high profile matches, and they can cash in on lucrative endorsement deals, too. Moreover, boxing is one of the most popular sports for betting on. Boxing brings in large sums of revenue for boxers, promoters, casinos and cable networks through gambling, pay per view and sponsorship deals.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has generated an astounding $756 million in pay-per-view revenue. Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao have generated $696 million and $661 million in pay per view revenue respectively. The September 2013 pay per view between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez had 2.2 million buys which resulted in $15 million in revenue – the largest pay-per-view revenue for a single game of all time. The fight also generated a whopping $20 million in ticket sales. The title of biggest endorsement deal in boxing history goes to George Foreman. Salton was paying Foreman royalties for use of his name on its electric grill: Eventually, the company that makes the George Foreman Grill paid Foreman $137.5 million for use of his name in perpetuity.
With the myriad of ways that boxers can make money it stands to reason that a lot of them can become fantastically wealthy. Benefitting from every money-making trick in the book as some of the world’s biggest names in boxing, the following are the ten richest boxers in the world today.
10. Ricky Hatton, net worth: $40 million
This former welterweight champion put his career on hold after a devastating loss to Manny Pacquiao, but it turns out that it wasn’t retirement for Hatton. He made his comeback in November 2012 when he fought Vyacheslav Senchenko. However, he suffered another devastating loss, which prompted him to retire for good. Still, his career did manage to amass him an impressive $40 million net worth. “Boxing started off as a habit and it ended up giving me some money and making me a little bit of a better person,” said Hatton of his career. His fight with Pacquiao earned him nearly $20 million for just six minutes in the ring, and his total historical career earnings are upwards of $65 million.
9. Marvin Hagler, net worth: $45 million
When Marvelous Marvin Hagler fought Sugar Ray Leonard in 1987 in the match dubbed the “super fight” he was the betting favorite, but Hagler ended up losing. Leonard won by split decision, but the outcome is still hotly contested to this day. Hagler had the opportunity to earn $15 million for a rematch, but he declined. Still, he managed to amass a fortune that today is estimated at $45 million, by holding the title of undisputed middleweight champion from ’80 to ‘87.
8. Muhammad Ali, net worth: $50 million
Muhammad Ali, real name Cassius Clay, is one of the most famous and legendary boxers of all time; he’s also one of the richest. When he defeated Sonny Liston in 1964 he became the youngest boxer to take the heavyweight championship title away from a reigning champ. Ali was just 22 when he defeated Liston, and Ali said before the match that he would “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” A devoted philanthropist, Ali opened the $60 million non-profit Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky in 2005.
7. Vitali Klitschko, net worth: $65 million
Ukrainian heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko is not only extremely talented and rich, but he’s smart, too – he holds a doctorate in sports science and philosophy. The World Boxing Council has conferred him as Champion Emeritus, which mean that if he returns to boxing he can fight for the heavyweight title with out having to fight any other bouts. After he retired from boxing he became the Mayor of Kiev, Ukraine.
6. Manny Pacquiao, net worth: $100 million
Like Klitschko, Pac-man is a politician, too. He was elected to Congress in the Philippines, and he reportedly spent $7 million on his election campaign. A proposed fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. was predicted to be the highest grossing fight in history, but disagreement between the boxers’ camps meant the fight never happened. He is also a professional basketball player and coach in the Philippine Basketball Association.
5. Sugar Ray Leonard, net worth: $120 million
Sugar Ray Leonard has a net worth of $120 million, and he is the first boxer to earn $100 million just from purses. Leonard won his first welterweight title in 1979 against Wilfred Benitez, and Leonard received $1 million for the fight. Leonard was guaranteed at least $11 million when he fought Marvin Hagler in the “super fight.” His widely disputed win was named upset of the year by The Ring magazine.
4. Lennox Lewis, net worth: $140 million
Lennox Lewis only ever lost 3 fights, and he won over $135 million during his 14 year career. His 2002 fight against Mike Tyson, which Lewis handily won, was the highest grossing pay per view event in history at the time. The fight generated nearly $107 million from 1.95 million pay per view buys.
3. Oscar De La Hoya, net worth: $200 million
The Golden Boy has an astonishing net worth of about $200 million. His income-generating ability over his illustrious career is unmatched, having generated about $696 million in pay per view income over his career. De La Hoya made $30 million in his fight against Bernard Hopkins in 2004, despite losing the match.
2. George Foreman, net worth: $250 million
Foreman has said that selling the rights to his name for the George Foreman grill has made him far more than his boxing career, but he still managed to take home a lot of income and purses throughout his boxing career. Foreman has had a tumultuous personal life and has gone broke in the past, but he’s more than held his own in recent years. His fight against Evander Holyfield earned him $12.5 million. Foreman has made other endorsements over the years including KFC, Doritos and Meineke.
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.: $280 Million
With an estimated net worth of $280 million, Mayweather Jr. is by far the richest boxer in the world. Even more impressive is the fact that his net worth was made with barely any endorsements. Fortune magazine listed Mayweather Jr. as the highest earner of all American athletes in 2014 with his total income generated standing at $105 million for the year. Following his rematch against Marcos Maidana earlier this year, Mayweather Jr.’s career winnings reached about $420 million.