Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao top the 100 highest paid athletes list
Boxing has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons lately. First David Haye and Dereck Chisora schedule a fight of the bad boys, in which two controversial unlicensed boxers fight for the title of most unpopular man in Britain. Then Manny Pacquiao loses a split decision bout on points to Timothy Bradley. A fight he clearly won. A fight the World knows he won. But judges disagree, and the spectre of corruption, of dodgy deals, rises in the sport once again.
But one thing boxing is good at. One thing the sport can still do above all other. It can make its two most accomplished proponents obscenely rich. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao topped Forbes’ list of the 100 highest paid athletes in the World this week.
Forbes Top-10 Highest-Paid Athletes:
1 Floyd Mayweather - Total earnings 85mUSD (£54.2m)
2 Manny Pacquaio - 62mUSD (£39.58m)
3 Tiger Woods - 59.4mUSD (£37.8m)
4 LeBron James - 53mUSD (£33.82m)
5 Roger Federer - 52.7mUSD (£33.62m)
6 Kobe Bryant - 52.3mUSD (£33.37m)
7 Phil Mickelson - 47.8mUSD (£30.5m)
8 David Beckham - 46mUSD (£29.3m)
9 Cristiano Ronaldo - 42.5mUSD (£27.1m)
10 Peyton Manning - 42.4mUSD (£27m)
Tiger Woods slipped down the rankings from first to third behind the two boxers. Tiger may be returning to some form on the golf course but the vast majority of his earnings come from endorsements; not prize money won on the green.
The greatest basketball player of the modern era, LeBron James of the Miami Heat, currently playing in the NBA finals, comes in at four on the list. He is joined in the top ten by fellow basketball star Kobe Bryant.
David Beckham remains the highest paid football player in the World. But like Woods most of his earnings come from endorsements, not directly from his sport itself.
Mayweather can thank his ownership of Mayweather Promotions for his staggering earnings. The company maximises his profits by controlling the receipts from tickets, pay-per-view and sponsorship to his fights. It even pays the purse of his opponents. Meaning the men Mayweather fights are really his employees.
Outside the top ten Fernando Alonso is the most flush driver on the F1 circuit at 19th with £29.4m in earnings.
America’s most popular sporting brand, the NFL, only provides one name to the top ten: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Say what you like about the current state of boxing. If you get to the top, you make a lot.
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