Top PPV Sportsmen: Eight boxers, Five WWE stars and an MMA icon
World Boxing News continue to delve into Pay-Per-View landmarks in the sport. In the latest edition, WBN looks at the top earners from boxing and beyond.
It’s no surprise, as the kings of the PPV market, pugilism features heavily in the top fourteen.
Since time began, almost, fans of our favorite past-time have been asked to put their hands in their pocket more than any other.
Beginning as early as the 1960’s, a lucrative loophole has been exploited and continues to be so.
With over 160 million buys during his career, Muhammad Ali is top of the pile. Arch-rival Joe Frazier is second, with another star of the era – ‘Big’ George Foreman – in third.
Fast-forward to modern times, and Floyd Mayweather comes in at fourth. Over 29 million sales see the ‘Money’ man’s vast empire as justifiable.
But on the other hand, it makes you wonder how much Ali, Frazier and Foreman could have earned if they’d have been involved when PPV exploded.
Some might say the platform is dying, although Mayweather, former rival Manny Pacquiao and MMA star Conor McGregor would tell you otherwise.
The 1990’s were a big influence on the market. World Wrestling Entertainment’s ‘Attitude Era’ saw Vince McMahon’s company etch themselves in PPV folklore.
Triple H, Hunter Hearst Helmsley or Paul Levesque – current head of WWE operations, comes in just a mere nine million below Mayweather thanks to his achievements in the squared circle.
Pacquiao is sixth, just ahead of Mike Tyson. ‘Iron’ Mike put considerable bums on seats around the same time as the WWE reached its pinnacle.
Tyson even shared the ring with the likes of Shawn Michaels (14th), The Rock Dwayne Johnson (9th) and The Undertaker (10th).
John Cena, wrestling’s biggest star over the last fifteen years, is in eighth place. ‘The Doctor of Thuganomics’ is currently considering his next move as one of the more aged competitors on the roster.
The next boxer on the list is Oscar De La Hoya. The ‘Golden Boy’ laid the groundwork from which Mayweather benefitted thereafter.
McGregor, UFC’s trailblazer is twelfth, whilst Evander Holyfield – with a little help from Tyson and Lennox Lewis – is ahead of ‘Sexy Boy’ Michaels.
It’s no surprise that boxing and WWE have merged on more than one occasion in the past due to the niche of sharing a similar market.
ALL-TIME PPV SPORTSMEN
1/ Muhammad Ali 163m sales (1963–1985) Boxing/MMA
2/ Joe Frazier 100m sales (1965–1981) Boxing
3/ George Foreman 52m sales (1974–1993) Boxing
4/ Floyd Mayweather 29m sales (2005-2017) – Boxing/WWE
5/ Triple H 20.3m sales (1995-present) – WWE
6/ Manny Pacquiao 19.6m (2005–present) Boxing
7/ Mike Tyson 18.3m (1988-2005) Boxing/WWE
8/ John Cena 15.4m (2002–present) WWE
9/ The Rock 15m (1998–2013) WWE
10/ The Undertaker 14.5m (1990–present) WWE
11/ Oscar De La Hoya 14.1m (1995–2008) Boxing
12/ Conor McGregor 13.67m (2008–present) MMA/Boxing
13/ Evander Holyfield 12.7m (1984–2003) Boxing
14/ Shawn Michaels 10.1m (1988–2010) WWE