If you wonder why six-time boxing champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather came out of retirement to face off with Conor McGregor, a UFC star who’s never stepped into a professional boxing ring, part of that answer is simple and, somewhat, obvious: it’s about the money.
“If I could put myself in a position to make nine figures, why not?” Mayweather told Stephen A. Smith earlier this month in an exclusive interview.
Although the world-renowned boxer named other reasons behind his decision to step in the ring with an opponent many deem unworthy, the candor in this statement is indicative of his business acumen and the drive that has made him one the highest paid athletes of all time.
Throughout his career, Mayweather has earned millions per fight and amassed a staggering net worth of $340 million. Still, that has not deterred him from taking advantage of an opportunity to earn more money, even if his unbeatable record is on the line. With this fight, he is projected to raise his career earnings to top $1 billion, which would place him in an elite class of athletes (like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan) who’ve reached this astounding benchmark.
How Much Will Mayweather Earn From Fighting McGregor?
According to reports, Mayweather is slated to earn $400 million from his fight with McGregor whether he wins or miraculously loses. His projected earnings can be broken down by pay-per-views buys, tickets sales, and sponsorship.
In addition to his wealth and undisputed boxing record—49-0, with 26 knockouts—Mayweather is known as one of the biggest pay-per-view attractions in sports history. This Saturday, viewers will pay $99 to watch the “PPV King” rumble with McGregor in HD and $89 for SD. In total, the fight is expected to generate about $400 million in PPV orders, just like his 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao, which produced a record-breaking $4.6 million PPV buys. Also, the fight is likely to generate a killing overseas since it has a MMA crossover appeal and McGregor has a huge international following.
Even though tickets sales to watch the Mayweather-McGregor fight inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas have not been as robust as expected, sales are still estimated to reach at least $50 million, which is pretty impressive.
According to The Telegraph, Mayweather will walk away with $25 million in just sponsorship deals alone from this one fight.
“The extraordinary earning power of Mayweather’s brand has seen his sponsorship partners One Entertainment request up to $15.5 million for six sections on the boxer’s shorts, with requests for $3.5 million for his waistband, and $1.5 million for a 4 x 2 inch patch on the front thigh of his shorts. They are asking for $1 million for his robe and even a million for his ‘victor’s cap’.
“The ring cushion behind Mayweather’s head during the fight, in one of the corners, has been bought out by a betting agent for $3.1 million. Mayweather Promotions are also asking for additional compensation for mass production of any caps or boots.”
How much will each fighter earn?
Although Mayweather and McGregor signed confidentiality agreements, it is estimated that Mayweather will take a majority stake in from revenues that will be split either 70/30 or 75/25. As a result, Mayweather will earn approximately $220 to $240 million, while McGregor will gain about $70 million.
A History of Mayweather Fights
Early in his career, the self-proclaimed TBE (“The Best Ever”) boxer earned $2 million from his first 15 fights preceding 2005. In June 2005, Mayweather earned $3.2 million for his match off with Arturo Gatti. By 2015, he made more than 100 times that amount for one fight. Here’s a breakdown of his earnings per fight since then:
- 2015: Andre Berto –– $35 million
- 2015: Manny Pacquiao – $250 million
- 2014: Marcos Maidana – $32 million
- 2014: Marcos Maidana – $40 million
- 2013: Saul Alvarez – $75 million
- 2013: Robert Guerrero – $50 million
- 2012: Miguel Cotto – $40 million
- 2011: Victor Ortiz – $40 million
- 2010: Sugar Shane Mosley – $30 million
- 2009: Juan Manuel Márquez – $25 million
- 2007: Oscar De La Hoya – $25 million
- 2007: Ricky Hatton – $25 million
- 2006: Carlos Baldomir – $8 million
The Business Man
The undisputed boxing champ used his business skills outside the ring to earn roughly $25 million by selling merchandise and from a few endorsement deals. In 2007, he broke ties with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, realizing that he would earn more revenue by promoting his own fights. So he launched his own boxing promotion firm called Mayweather Promotions and thereafter cashed checks ranging between $25 million to $40 million over the next six years. Meanwhile, his record-breaking fight against Canelo Alvarez generated more than $70 million. 2007 is also the year that he dropped his moniker of “Pretty Boy” and adopted the nickname “Money.”
Today, Mayweather is recognized as one of the richest athletes on the planet, who has topped the Sports Illustrated lists of the 50 highest-paid athletes in 2012 and 2013, and the Forbes list in 2014 and 2015.