Top-tier boxers who are proven draws on PPV or television can make huge sums of money from just one fight. While the vast majority of professional boxers scrape to get by, those at the very apex of the profession are some of the highest-paid athletes in the world.
One notable difference between boxers and athletes from other sports is that their pay isn’t directly related to their ability to win fights. Rather, it is more closely associated with their ability to get people to pay to watch their fights. LeBron James just needs to win championships to earn a high-figure salary and shoe endorsements. To earn top-money in boxing, one has to not only win championships but be an entertaining celebrity on top of that.
It doesn’t matter how many fights a boxer can win, it matters how many fights a boxer can sell.
With that in mind, here are the top 5 highest paid boxers in history:
5. Lennox Lewis
Lennox Lewis has an estimated net worth of $140 million. His 14-year career as a British-Canadian heavyweight spanned from 1989 until 2003. Lewis’ career record sits at 41-2-1. He won a Gold medal for Canada at the 1988 Olympics to go along with his gold from the 1986 Commonwealth games in Edinburgh.
Lewis’ most notable fights from his career include 2-high profile bouts against Evander Holyfield. The two heavyweights drew their first fight on March 13th, 1999, and then Lewis picked up the unanimous decision victory later that same year.
Lewis also knocked out Mike Tyson in the 8th round of their clash from 2002 to retain the WBC, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles.
4. Oscar De La Hoya
With a net worth estimated at $200 million, Oscar De La Hoya sits at number 4 on this list. The 47-year-old retired fighter fought professionally 45 times, amassing a 39-6 record.
During The Golden Boy’s career, he had notable fights against boxers such as Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley, and Manny Pacquiao. He brought in some hefty paydays for his fights against Floyd Mayweather as well.
De La Hoya has kept earning big-money paydays from promoting top fights after his retirement with Golden Boy Productions too.
3. Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao’s net worth is currently estimated at $220 million. Pacquiao fought professionally on 71 occasions with his last bout coming on July 20th, 2019. His career record sits at 62-7-2.
His most notable and high-paying fight came in a loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015. Pacquiao also had high-profile fights with boxers such as Shane Mosley, Timothy Bradley, Ricky Hatton, and Oscar De La Hoya.
Nowadays, Pacquiao is an elected Senator in the Philippines. He was elected to a 6-year term in 2016.
2. George Foreman
The second-richest boxer in the world is George Foreman. His net worth is currently estimated at $300 million. Foreman fought at a time when even some of his contemporaries left the sport with very little money. He also almost fell into the same category too, nearly going bankrupt in the early part of his career due to bad investments.
Huge money fights against opponents such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Evander Holyfield, George Chuvalo, and more helped to make up for his losses, however. Foreman retired in 1997 after 81 professional fights. His career record sits at 76-5.
Foreman has made several profitable investments since his retirement. He’s made a considerable amount of money over the years marketing “The George Foreman Grill” as well.
1. Floyd “Money” Mayweather
Few boxing fans will be surprised by the name that tops this list. Floyd “Money” Mayweather has made so much money in his career that its hard for experts to even keep track of. His net worth is estimated to be somewhere between $560 million and $1 billion depending on the source.
As of this writing, Mayweather’s last fight came in 2017 when he ended his retirement to face MMA fighter, Conor McGregor. The win put Mayweather’s record at a perfect 50-0.
Mayweather’s top-earning fights include his 2015 clash with Manny Pacquiao, his 2013 fight with Canelo Alvarez, and his 2007 tilt against Oscar De La Hoya. It was actually his last fight against McGregor which earned him the biggest payday of his career, however. He is estimated to have walked out of that fight with a $275 million payday for one night’s work against a guy making his pro-boxing debut.
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