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The 2024 boxing season is only a few weeks old, but followers of the noble art have already enjoyed some thrilling bouts. Lovers of the noble art hope this is the year the sport finally sees the best face the best, with the likes of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk sharing a ring. Fight fans want to see one clear heavyweight champion of the world, but will that be the Gypsy King or the unbeaten Ukranian? The best online sportsbook in the USA allows members to predict the champion and gamble on the result.
In January, we witnessed another fighter enter the race to be the pound-for-pound king of the sport. Russian knockout artist Artur Beterbiev continued his devastating form with a seventh-round knockout win over England’s Callum Smith. The 38-year-old orthodox boxer is the first and only man to stop former world champion Smith inside the distance, and he’s now on track for a super-fight of his own.
We want to see Beterbiev face current world number one Dmitrii Bivol. Beterbiev boasts a 100% record from 20 fights, with 20 knockouts. Despite that record, Bivol would be the pundit’s pick to win should the light heavyweights come to blows in what could be the richest fight of the year and one of the biggest in the division’s history.
Boxing’s in great health
Professional boxing is in great health as it continues to recover from the damage caused by COVID-19. The biggest promoters, including Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren, are back working with the top names, fighting as regularly as possible. Investment from Saudi Arabia helped usher things along, and that cash is tempting the biggest names to fight the best opponents.
Boxing is also working closely with Mixed Martial Arts, paving the way for several high-profile crossover bouts. Floyd Mayweather’s famous stoppage win over UFC star Conor McGregor opened the floodgates for similar bouts. Tyson Fury fought Francis Ngannou, and Jake Paul has boxed his fair share of wrestlers. It’s great to see boxing and MMA professionals ignore the battle to be the number one combat sport and begin to work together for the benefit of both sports and fans.
They may not always be popular with boxing purists, but crossover bouts between boxers and MMA fighters attract media attention, huge pay-per-view figures, and substantial investment. The financial rewards available to the top fighters in both codes are staggering, and there’s more money involved in combat sports today than ever before.
We often see popular fighters smash PPV records and annual earnings. But who are the top dogs in the world of professional boxing? Which fighters can earn as hard as they hit? Keep reading as we detail the highest earners in professional boxing history, starting with the man who changed the game, the now-retired Money Mayweather.
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Floyd Mayweather Jr.
When it comes to the wealthiest boxers in history, Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. stands tall, both in the ring and in the bank. Mayweather’s career is marked by an impeccable 50-0 record, making him one of the greatest boxers of all time. However, it’s his business acumen and self-promotion that has truly set him apart financially.
Mayweather has been involved in some of the highest-grossing pay-per-view events in boxing history, earning hundreds of millions for fights against opponents like Manny Pacquiao and Conor McGregor. Outside the ring, his promotional company, Mayweather Promotions, has added another stream of income, further solidifying his status as one of the richest athletes globally.
Known for his thunderous fists and iconic grill, George Foreman is not just a boxing legend but also a wise entrepreneur. Foreman won the heavyweight gold medal at the 1968 Olympics and later became a two-time world heavyweight champion. His most notable achievement in the ring was the “Rumble in the Jungle,” where he lost to Muhammad Ali in 1974, a true classic.
However, Foreman’s financial comeback came in an unexpected form – the George Foreman Grill. He endorsed this household kitchen appliance, which went on to become a massive commercial success, earning Foreman millions in endorsement deals and royalties. His clever business moves both in and out of the ring contribute to his place among the richest boxers in history.
Hailing from the Philippines, Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao is not just a boxing sensation but also a multifaceted talent. Pacquiao has held world championships in multiple weight classes and is the only boxer to win titles in eight different divisions. His rise to fame and fortune began in the early 2000s, with memorable victories against the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton.
Beyond the ring, Pacquiao has ventured into politics, serving as a senator in the Philippines. His various roles, including being a singer, actor, and basketball player, have added to his overall brand value. Pacquiao’s ability to diversify his income streams has played a pivotal role in amassing a considerable fortune throughout his illustrious career.
Oscar De La Hoya
Oscar, “The Golden Boy” De La Hoya, has not only left an indelible mark on boxing but has also made significant strides as a businessman. Winning multiple world titles in six different weight classes, De La Hoya was a box office attraction known for his technical skills and marketability. His bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2007 remains one of the highest-grossing pay-per-view events in history.
Post-retirement, De La Hoya founded Golden Boy Promotions, a successful boxing promotional firm that has showcased numerous top-tier fighters. The company’s success, coupled with De La Hoya’s ventures into real estate and other business ventures, has contributed to his status as one of the richest boxers in history.
Renowned for his ferocious style in the ring, Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history at the age of 20. Despite facing financial challenges and personal setbacks throughout his career, Tyson remains one of the wealthiest boxers to date. Tyson’s boxing purses, including his record-breaking paydays, were substantial. However, his journey to financial recovery included diverse ventures. His popular podcast, “Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson,” coupled with a successful cannabis business, has helped him rebuild his fortune. Tyson’s ability to reinvent himself and capitalize on his brand even after retirement showcases his resilience and business savvy.
Mike Tyson has suffered defeat in six out of his 58 professional bouts. His first loss came against Buster Douglas, followed by two losses to Evander Holyfield, one to Lennox Lewis, another to Danny Williams, and his most recent defeat to Kevin McBride.
In addition to being the undisputed heavyweight champion, Tyson holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA, and IBF world heavyweight titles. He was the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles.