Be it a boxing gambling enthusiast or a fan, everyone wants to know about the top earners in their favorite sport. However, it is extremely difficult to figure out the total earning of any athlete throughout his or her entire career.
When it comes to boxing, most of the fighters are paid a salary as agreed upon in the contract, a percentage of the pay-per-view and/or live gate sales, as well as other broadcasting revenue. Moreover, let’s not forget that they need to pay their training and management teams, the promoter, and the taxman.
Mentioned below is a list of top ten money earners ever in boxing rings. Please note that the money involved in the sport has increased significantly over a period of time. Therefore, these rankings have nothing to do with the boxing skills or popularity of these champion athletes.
Vitali Klitschko: One of the best heavyweight boxers in the modern era, Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine was a three-time world heavyweight champion. He held an enviable record of 45-2 with as many as forty-one knockouts between the years 1996 and 2012. His knockout percentage of 87 is the highest ever in the history of the heavyweight championship. Also, he is the only heavyweight champion who was never knocked down.
Felix Trinidad: Puerto Rico’s Felix Trinidad turned professional at the age of just seventeen in 1990. He retired in 2008 with a career record of 42-3. As a professional, he won world titles in as many as three different weight divisions. He also made fifteen defenses of his welterweight title and his reign in this division continued for six years, eight months and fourteen days.
Wladimir Klitschko: The younger brother of Vitali, Wladimir Klitschko hit the deadlines in 1996 when he won the Olympics gold medal in the super-heavyweight division. He ended his pro career in 2017 with a win-loss record of 64-5 with fifty-three knockouts. As a heavyweight champion, he holds the record for the second-longest reign. He also has twenty-three title defenses in the heavyweight division, second only to Joe Louis.
Sugar Ray Leonard: Sugar Ray Leonard was one of the biggest boxing stars before the start of boxing’s big-money era. He fought in the professional circuit from 1977 to 1997, winning title belts in five different categories of weight. With twenty-five knockouts, his professional record stands at 36-3-1.
Lennox Lewis: Former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis fought professionally from 1989 to 2003, defeating big names such as Evander Holyfield, Vitali Klitschko, Ray Mercer, Mike Tyson, Razor Ruddock, Oliver McCall, Frank Bruno, Andrew Golota, and many others. The super heavyweight gold medal winner at the 1988 Olympics, he retired with a career record of 41-2-1 with thirty-two knockouts.
Evander Holyfield: Former heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Evander Holyfield fought fifty-seven professional bouts between 1984 and 2011 with a record of 44-10-2. This included twenty-nine knockouts and one no contest.
Mike Tyson: In his glory days between 1985 and 2005, Mike Tyson was one of the biggest and best-paid boxers around the world until of course, he went bankrupt. He took on some of the biggest names of his time including Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Andrew Golota, Frank Bruno, Michael Spinks, Larry Holmes, Razor Ruddock, and many others. He ended his career with a professional career record of 50-6, which included two no contests and forty-four knockouts.
Oscar De La Hoya: Former Olympics gold medalist, Oscar fought forty-five professional fights until 2009, maintaining a record of 39-6 with thirty knockouts. He is also the winner of ten world championship belts in as many as six different weight categories.
Manny Pacquiao: This Philippine boxing legend is the winner of world titles in eight different weight classes. He holds a career record of 61-7-2 with thirty-nine victories by knockout. The Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), WBC, and WBO named him the “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000s.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is considered to be the highest earner amongst all boxers ever. In a career spanning from 1996 to 2017, he held multiple world titles in five weight classes and retired with an unbeaten record. Mayweather has been one of the most coveted pay-per-view attractions amongst all sports personalities of all time.