Pacquiao vs. Mayweather: Who’s Earned More?

boxing gloves

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Without a doubt, this Sunday’s blockbuster Pacquiao vs Mayweather matchup will be both boxers’ biggest paydays. But have you ever wondered just how much Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather has made over their long boxing careers?

It’s safe to say that after the fight, both boxers will pass the $425 million (P18.8 billion) earning mark. Not a lot of athletes have been able to reach this number. According to Forbes, the ones that have done so include sports luminaries such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Roger Federer, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Mayweather himself. Besides Pacquiao and Mayweather, the people on the list have made their money mostly through endorsements.

Even though Mayweather’s the one nicknamed “Money”, Pacquiao is no slouch in the earning department either. In 2014, he was the world’s 11th highest-paid athlete, taking home $41.8 million from fights and endorsements (P1.8 billion). And in 2013, he passed the $300 million (P13.3 billion) mark for the first time with his $30 million purse in the fight against Brandon Rios.

Manny’s earned a lot …

Manny Pacquiao

Photo: Roger Alcantara [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Forbes estimates that after this fight, Pacquiao will have earned $425 million total. No wonder the BIR’s always hitting him up for taxes.

Besides the earnings from his fights, Manny Pacquiao has earned over $30 million (P1.3 billion) in endorsements. Throughout his career, Manny has endorsed products like Monster Energy, Hennessy, East West Bank, Hewlett-Packard, San Miguel, LBC, Head and Shoulders, and many others. In the last six months alone, he netted at least $5 million (P221 million) in deals with Nike and Nestle. Every year, he earns an estimated $800,000 (P35.4 million) from endorsements.

Money from selected Pacquiao fights:

Earnings Source
$1.75 million 2005, v Erik Morales (Manny’s first big fight)
$12 million 2009, v Ricky Hatton
$22 million 2009, v Miguel Cotto
$15 – 20 million 2010, v Joshua Clottey
$20 million 2010, v Antonio Margarito
$20 million 2011, v Shane Mosley
$22 million 2011, v Juan Manuel Marquez
$20 million 2012, v Timothy Bradley
$30 million 2012, v Juan Manuel Marquez
$30 million 2013, v Brandon Rios
$26 million 2014, v Timothy Bradley
$20 million 2014, v Juan Manuel Marquez
$80 – 120 million (estimated) 2015, v Floyd Mayweather

(note: these are reported fight earnings, not including all streams of revenue. Sources: Forbes, Wikipedia)

The rest of us can only dream of taking home a paycheck with that many zeroes on it!

…but Mayweather’s earned even more

Floyd Mayweather

Photo: Floyd Mayweather’s Twitter account

Floyd Mayweather has 620 million reasons for smiling.

While Manny’s earnings may seem impressive, Floyd Mayweather has made a heck of a lot more. After he paid $750,000 (P33 million) to get out of his Top Rank contract, Mayweather’s been raking in the dough non-stop — even without endorsements. While Manny was only the 11th-highest earning athlete in 2011, Mayweather topped the list at $105 million (P4.6 billion), meaning he earned more than superstars like Kobe Bryant and Cristiano Ronaldo. He was the first athlete in history besides Tiger Woods to end a calendar year with over $100 million (P4.4 billion) in earnings. His total earnings before the Pacquiao fight? $420 million (P18.6 billion)! Add the $200 million (P8.8 billion) Mayweather expects to make from the Pacquiao fight and that goes up to $620 million (P27.4 billion).

How does Mayweather earn so much money? After he became a free agent, he staged his fights himself. Rather than taking an upfront fee, he makes his money from the back end, and because he has no promoter (he’s essentially his own promoter), he gets to keep more of it for himself. As Greg Bishop put it in the New York Times back in 2011:

“He earns a percentage of every ticket purchased, every pretzel consumed, every poster sold. He will earn from countries that paid for broadcasting rights and the theaters where the fight is shown. Mayweather, regarded as one of the best boxers in history, fights under a highly unusual financial structure, exchanging upfront risk for back-end profit while retaining total control.”

If you think of that $750,000 as an investment, Mayweather’s made around 500 times that already, given that he’s earned most of his more than $420 million dollars after he negotiated his way out of his contract. That’s an unbelievable ROI.

For 10 straight fights, he earned at least $25 million (P1.1 billion) each just for stepping in the ring. His $80 million (P3.5 billion) bout against Saul Alvarez in 2013 broke the record for highest-earning fight at the time. You know how we said that after this fight, Manny will have had $425 million in winnings? Mayweather already made at least that much back in 2014.

So not only is he one of the best boxers of all time, he’s also one of the most financially savvy. And all that without a single dollar in endorsements.

Some of Mayweather’s highest-earning fights:

Earnings Source
$25 million 2007, v Oscar De La Hoya
$80 million 2013, v Saul Alvarez
$32 million 2014, v Marcos Maidana
$150 million (estimated) 2015, v Manny Pacquiao

(note: these are reported fight earnings, not including all streams of revenue. Sources: Forbes, Wikipedia)

From the fight against Pacquiao alone, Mayweather will top the highest yearly earnings ever by any athlete. Right now, the record is Tiger Woods’ $125 million (P5.5 billion) in 2008. And even though the Forbes estimate is $150 million (P6.6 billion), Mayweather reckons he’ll take home even more: “I’ll make upwards of $200m for this fight, which is $50m (P2.2 billion) apiece for my kids. So it was a smart move,” he said according to the BBC.

No matter what happens on Sunday, both these boxers are going home with huge, record-breaking purses. And while Floyd Mayweather may win the battle of the wallets, let’s hope that Manny wins the battle in the ring. Go Manny!

Manny Pacquiao

Photo: Forbes

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