Whether he's loved or hated, most would agree Floyd Mayweather is one of boxing's smartest athletes. He doesn't possess the richest vocabulary or philosophies but he maximized his earning potential in a sport where having great skills isn't enough.
Born to a family of boxers, Mayweather was already a prodigy in the making when he fought his first pro bout at the age of 19 but few foresaw the staggering amount of money he would earn.
Mayweather's Rise to Riches
Mayweather prides himself as the smartest boxer. Besides an unbeaten 49-0 record, Mayweather has done so with as minimal risk, and as much money, as possible. Mayweather won 33 consecutive fights before getting his first pay-per-view bout: against fan favourite slugger Arturo Gatti in June 2005. The bout drew 365,000 buys and Mayweather earned $3.2 million, which is a droplet for him today but it would be the start of his steady increase in income. He would earn $8 million against Baldomir then landed "superfights" that established him as boxing's money king.
The "money fights" started against boxing great Oscar De La Hoya, which became boxing's most lucrative match ever with over 2.4 million PPV buys and $130 million revenue generated. Mayweather earned himself $25 million and another $25 mil in his next PPV bout against Ricky Hatton. Mayweather began a brief retirement but earned eight figure incomes in every fight from 2007 onwards. He again broke the bank and his earnings with over $100 million total against Canelo in 2013. This set him up for the biggest payday in boxing ever.
In what was deemed the "Fight of the Century", the highly-anticipated bout against fellow boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao shattered his own PPV record with 4.6 million buys and $500 million in revenue thanks to an increased PPV price. That the fight didn't live up to its hype is irrelevant. Mayweather handily defeated Pacquiao by unanimous decision and earned a cool $220 million. In contrast, NBA superstar Tim Duncan made less in his 18-year career with the Spurs (at the time). Mayweather made his coin but this was only in the boxing ring.
Ventures Beyond Boxing
Following his fight against Hatton in 2007, Mayweather took a hiatus from boxing and had a brief stint with the WWE. Mayweather appeared on the No Way Out PPV and feuded with the Big Show, culminating with a match (which he won) in Wrestlemania, which reportedly paid him $20 million.
A list of his assets also include a five-bedroom house in Miami Beach, Florida valued at $7.7 million, a Vegas strip penthouse (1.8 million) and a set of sports cars with values that total $14.5 million.
In 2015 alone, Mayweather banked $15 million from endorsements from the likes of FanDuel and Burger King and additional revenue from his promotion's, The Money Team (TMT), merchandise sales. He banked at least $300 million in this year alone. Had Mayweather not become involved in legal issues, he would have landed more endorsement deals of at least $100 million. He has many ventures that stretch to music, entertainment, and apparel through TMT. And he's set to make even more money in a new superfight against MMA superstar McGregor.
And Still Boxing's Richest Fighter in the World
Win or lose, Mayweather only has his reputation to lose. He is reported to pocket at least $100 million in his bout against McGregor where he may solidify himself as the greatest prizefighter. Mayweather leveraged his skills with a highly marketable personality: a brash and outspoken boxer with a knack for getting into both his opponent's and the fans' heads.
He became more than a boxer. He was an icon. His uncanny self-marketing ability and business savvy led to his success. Not bad for someone who struggles with literacy.
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