Floyd Mayweather began his boxing career with the ring name ‘Pretty Boy’, for his flashy fighting style and clean-cut good looks. Halfway through his career, he changed it to ‘Money’ and for good reason – he is the most financially successful fighter in the history of the sport.
Over the 21 years he boxed as a professional, Floyd earned a reported total of $1.2 billion. His current net worth is valued at $450m. Forbes recently named Mayweather as the most valuable athlete of the past decade, earning $915m in that time. Simply put, Floyd knows how to make money.
There is perhaps no better example of that than his most recent bout, an exhibition against YouTuber Logan Paul. Despite being retired from boxing and this contest not counting on his official record, the event generated a huge amount of interest and aired on pay-per-view (PPV) in both America and the UK.
Betting on the champ
Though Paul outweighed Mayweather by over 30lbs, Floyd was a significant betting favourite heading into the bout with suppliers like 888 Sport, whose sport betting odds had ‘Money’ priced at roughly 1/8.
Mayweather confirmed that he earned a minimum of $30m for the bout against Paul, though that figure could well go beyond $100m as he will also get a percentage of the revenue from PPV sales.
A lot of Mayweather’s guaranteed income from the fight came from sponsors on the shorts he wore for it, though this is actually something of a rarity for the 44-year-old. In the second half of his career, Floyd did not have sponsors involved in his fights, beside his blockbuster clash with Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
(Mayweather clinched a points decision over Pacquioa)
He earned a reported career high $250m for his fight with the Filipino icon, which Mayweather won on points. That is the disclosed sum, so there is a chance that he earned even more than that. Part of those earnings came from brands like Hublot and Burger King, who each paid $1m to appear on his clothing.
The second highest purse of his career was for his 2017 crossover fight with UFC superstar Conor McGregor, for which he was given roughly $100m. Other notable figures were his $73m purse for fighting Canelo Alvarez in 2013 and the $45m he netted against Miguel Cotto a year earlier.
Since 2010, Mayweather has not earned anything less than $32m per fight. This is largely down to the brand Floyd built as a fighter and personality. One of his main selling points was his unbeaten record, but he would also flaunt his money and what he spent it on. This earned him fans but also a lot of detractors who wanted to see him lose – either way, they were paying to see him fight.
Perhaps the smartest decision of Mayweather’s career was when he bought himself out of the promotional contract he had with Top Rank. In 2006, Mayweather was a world champion and signed to Bob Arum’s Top Rank promotional company. He was earning roughly $3m per fight at the time and was not happy with the terms of their agreement. So, he triggered the release clause in his contract and paid the $750,000 fee to do so, making himself a free agent.
He struck out on his own and established Mayweather Promotions, meaning he was then able to call all the shots and the revenue flowed through his own company. It also meant he could negotiate larger portions of PPV revenue to go straight into his pocket, without the need to pay a middleman.
Suddenly, he was earning $8m for the same level of fights though, in 2007, his earnings went into the stratosphere with his enormous fight with Oscar De La Hoya. Mayweather earned a split decision and the event generated 2.48m PPV buys and $137m, both records at the time. Mayweather’s bout with Pacquiao broke both of those records.
The vast majority of Mayweather’s biggest fights took place in Las Vegas at venues like the MGM Grand and the recently built T-Mobile Arena. These locations pay a site fee to secure these big fights, paying a premium for Mayweather events, because they generate so much money for them. Floyd himself will pocket some of this hefty site fee.
As he had full control over his career, Mayweather could also sell his fights to the highest bidder when it came to broadcast rights. In 2013, he signed a landmark six-fight deal with Showtime which, at the time, was considered the biggest contract in sports history for an individual athlete. The agreement guaranteed him a minimum of $32m for each fight, as well as a share of PPV sales.
A businessman through and through
Mayweather has also made some smart investments away from boxing. He bought a roller skate park in Vegas, and also has his own adult club named ‘The Girl Collection’. Through Mayweather Promotions, he is bringing through talented fighters like multi-weight champion Gervonta Davis.
With all this mind, it’s no wonder that Mayweather is considered one of the savviest boxers in history. In creating his own promotional company, Floyd was able to command eye-watering purses for the rest of his career against some of the finest fighters of the past generation. Love or hate him, nobody can deny his intelligence or business sense.