Mayweather has netted $420 million in earnings during his career with more than 90% of that total earned since he started calling his own shots. The move was a no-brainer for Showtime, which was trying to raise the stakes in its blood feud with HBO. The two bouts drew middling PPV figures of 365,000 and 375,000. He was featured in his first two PPV cards against Arturo Gatti in 2005 and Zab Judah a year later. He envisioned himself as a headliner who could make “nine-figures” in one night. The pact guaranteed him at least $32 million for each fight with potentially much more and will go down as the richest contract in the history of sports. 11). Mayweather didn’t care as long as you bought the PPV for his fights.
Mayweather operated under the “Pretty Boy” nickname his entire career. “People love or hate him, but they watch him,” Showtime Sports head Stephen Espinoza told Forbes at the time.
Mayweather was part of WrestleMania the following year, although he was blowing smoke with his claim of a $20 million payday from WWE. On the show, he met Mark Cuban, no slouch when it comes to marketing yourself. The fight had 2.25 million PPV buys and a record $153 million in PPV revenue. He became a world class marketer playing a WWE character come to life, who nearly everybody hated. He is fighting for his legacy as one of the sport’s best ever. Mayweather set up his own promotion company, Mayweather Promotions, and arranged for all of the revenue streams to flow through him for his bouts. “I don’t think people realize just how focused [Mayweather] is on being more successful outside the ring than he is inside,” Cuban told Forbes in 2010.
Mayweather turned pro in 1996 after winning a controversial bronze medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics. Baldomir was a warm-up for what was to come.
Ellerbe thinks Mayweather’s $750,000 payment to get out of his Top Rank contract is more than just the best investment in boxing history. Mayweather had a guarantee of $41.5 million and earned more than $30 million on top of that from his cut of the fight’s revenue.
Mayweather’s big score came in 2013 with his blockbuster six-fight deal with Showtime. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Pulling the strings on Mayweather’s career was Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum, who has promoted many of boxing’s biggest legends including Muhammad Ali, Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao.
Mayweather had a unique opt-out clause in his contract with Top Rank that let him pay $750,000 to get out of his promotion contract. Mayweather built a massive social media following that now counts 5.9 million Twitter and 10 million Facebook fans.
Mayweather went out on his own and started calling the shots. “It is the best investment in the history of sports,” he says.. Mayweather picked Cuban’s brain relentless on business. Mayweather bet on himself.
The 47-0 champ, five-division world champion has generated a record $871 million in career PPV revenue with all but roughly $40 million since he split from Top Rank. Saturday’s fight is set to break every financial boxing record in the books with Mayweather looking at a payday of $150 million or more.
Floyd Mayweather poses on the scale at the weigh-in the day before the fight of his life against Manny Pacquiao. The notorious gambler got to the pinnacle of the sport by a shrewd $750,000 bet in 2006. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
The Mayweather-Arum partnership was fruitful for both as Mayweather stayed undefeated with a growing paycheck. His first fight was against Carlos Baldomir and the fight drew only 325,000 PPV buys, but Mayweather banked a career high $8 million payday, more than double what he was earning over his last fights with Top Rank. 2013 bout against Canelo Alvarez. The moniker came as a result of how little he got hit due to his superior defense. The $750,000 price tag might seem small today with Floyd banking $105 million last year as the world’s highest-paid athlete, but in the mid 2000s his paychecks were all in the $3 million range.
The De La Hoya fight marked the first of 10 straight paydays of at least $25 million (Saturday night will be No. “Floyd walked into Top Rank’s office, handed them a check and the rest is history.”
“He had the great vision to take his brand to the next level,” says Ellerbe. Both were records with the PPV buy record still standing. Mayweather earned $25 million, including his share of PPV revenue
Mayweather’s biggest payday came for his Sept. He ran his record to 18-0 and won his first world title with a technical knockout of Genaro Hernandez in 1998. “Floyd wanted to take his career in a new direction,” says Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather’s long-time confidante and CEO of Mayweather Promotions. But one thing already secured by Mayweather is his role as the biggest PPV star and richest boxer in the history of the sport. He appeared on Dancing with the Stars in 2007, which opened him up to a new audience. But in 2007 before the biggest fight of his life, Mayweather unleashed a new name: “Money.” Mayweather’s split decision victory over De La Hoya garnered 2.48 million PPV buys and $137 million in PPV revenue. Mayweather wasn’t satisfied. Read all of my Forbes stories here.
Floyd Mayweather faces the biggest fight of his career Saturday night against Manny Pacquiao
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