Putting Floyd Mayweather’s $210 Million Payout in Perspective

I knew superstar boxers made an obscene amount of money. But when I read yesterday’s report about this month’s Floyd Mayweather / Manny Pacquiao fight and the compensation that would be paid to each boxer—$210 million to Mayweather and $142 million to Pacquio—I had to read the line five times to try to absorb what I was seeing. The boxing match went 12 rounds of three minutes each. Mayweather made $210 million for a 36-minute job. That’s $5.8 million a minute—just under $100,000 a second. If you told me I could make $100,000 a second to get smashed in the face continually by Manny Pacquiao, with or without gloves, I’d probably just tough it out in there until he eventually killed me.

So I decided to stop everything and spend an upsetting amount of time putting this in perspective. Mayweather’s $210 million is more than entire cumulative career earnings of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods—combined. It’s more than the Boston Red Sox entire 2015 team payroll. It’s more than the combined 2015 NFL and NBA salary caps. If you add up every dollar Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi earned in their careers and then tack on everything Roger Federer has earned so far in his, it still falls $37 million short of what Mayweather made on May 2 in those 36 minutes.

I eventually just put everything in a big “holy shit that’s a ridiculous payout Floyd Mayweather got for 36 minutes of boxing” graphic showing what is less than $210 million:

Floyd Mayweather Chart




Some more outrageous numbers:

7.3 Billion People, One Building

What Could You Buy With $241 Trillion?

The Death Toll Comparison Breakdown

  • Jebmak

    While I see what you are saying, and it is ridiculous, you are discounting the hundreds (maybe thousands) of brutal hours of training.

  • Jeff

    But every professional athlete puts in hours of tough training

  • Brian

    I’m curious as to why there are no other boxers on the chart. Do they just make that much less than all these other athletes? If so, then why does this one guy get all the loot?

  • Petr from the Czech republic

    No soccer, Tim you are really an American 🙂 Nice mini-article though!

    • Chiel Wieringa

      Football! not soccer.

      Never understood why they called “rugby for pussies” american FOOTball, I mean, most off the time they are carrying the ball with their HANDS for gods sake. 😛

  • penguin

    well, i think it makes sense. think about it – pacquio and mayweather are arguably the best current boxers around. you aren’t witnessing a payout for 36 minutes of boxing, you are witnessing a payout for 20+ years of training, and an extreme amount of risk. There is incredible risk in doing any sport – because it is extremely unlikely that you will be one of the greats that can become worth watching. A basketball event requires 20 plus players, coaching staff, owners, the league, etc. A boxing match only requires two players and coaches. So if you have an event where the whole world is watching with only two players – you expect the payout to be pretty great.

    • André Baptista

      But tennis is only 2 players and 2 coaches too, and makes far less money for players

    • James

      Plus the match was far from worth watching

  • Rick Brumfield

    What interesting is many people are going, “But all the training, theres risk, & reasons.” But if you put up a chart showing how much CEO’s make a year, which most would be a fraction of this, people would cry bloody murder. “How dare these people be so greedy! They need to be taxed EVEN MORE! They could earn 1/5th of that & still be OK!!! BLARGGG!!!” To me thats really sad, we will make exceptions for people who make insane money for sports or singing or movies, things that do not create jobs for the masses or keep the economy turning, but once we bring in industry leaders we decry them for being greedy. I don’t get it.

    • penguin

      i agree with you. The problem is envy. There is no fixed economic pie. A person who makes a lot of money is not making it at the expense of another (except in cases of government workers). I once got into an argument as to why basketball players make more money than fire fighters – since firefighters risk there life, and in this person’s mind, do more for ‘society’. Well, its due to that fact that becoming a basketball player is far riskier than becoming a firefighter. One may respond that a lot more fire fighters have died on the job, but how many people have given up an education to become an excellent basketball player. The odds of becoming a professional athlete are incredibly low, and to designate your time to that is incredibly risky for your future.

      • benjamin3290

        This takes me back to my freshman Econ classes. You’re totally correct in your analysis. Something else to note is the scarcity of talent to make it to the NBA vs the abundance of people who could become a firefighter. Also, firefighters are paid either by donation or government funding.

    • Adam

      I agree completely, and my thoughts while I was reading this article mostly consisted of “look how much Andre Agassi is making, and he’s at the bottom of the chart”. I would not make exceptions for these people. No matter how much I might appreciate Roger Federer’s talent, no one person needs that amount of money. I understand that people get paid for how much their work is worth, not how much they deserve, but I still disagree with it.

      It reminds me of Tim’s $241 trillion post (https://waitbutwhy.com/2014/03/combined-wealth-world.html), and how incredibly, ridiculous badly distributed wealth is.

    • Chiel Wieringa

      At what, or rather whose costs do they make the money is what’s more important to me. It’s not all CEO’s who get me outrageous, it’s the ones in the fear industry (insurance companies) or the money industry (banks). They rob whole countries and get rich doing it, while the governments use their propaganda machine to hush the people telling them “there to big to fail”… The CEO’s that you are obliged to pay even if you don’t want to. That’s robbery.

      These sportsman on the other hand make their money in a more honest way. No one is forced to pay for them. If you’re stupid enough to pay insane amounts to see those fights live or buy the pay per view to watch it on the TV or something or bet on it or whatever then that’s up to you. No one is forcing you to pay for it.

  • Jason

    Reading through the BI article you linked: $72 million in revenue…just from TICKET SALES?? The 17,000 attendees in the crowd (slightly less than Fenway Park cut in half) contributed more towards revenue than all the bars in the United States, all the television sets outside of the United States, and all the brands in the world (sponsorships)…combined!

    That’s even more incredible when you consider half of the attendees had flown in from the Kentucky Derby only a few hours beforehand.

  • Gabu

    no football (soccer). And no Formula 1. Those are the sports with the highest wages. Without them it’s a pointless comparison.

  • Andrew James Stevens

    Imagine the hourly rate if there had been an immediate k.o.

    • Goose

      That’s not really true and also not relevant. There are several athletes with career earnings ahead of this and were lest off due to the whole point being this is what he made MORE than. Baseball players probably are the highest career earners due to longevity. But again the point is this is in comparison to only 36 minutes for one athlete!

      • Goose

        Sorry that was in response to Gabu. Not you…

  • Rory Daly

    These numbers don’t seem to correlate with other sources… For example, Tiger Woods, according to this article, has career earnings of nearly $1.5 billion… http://eastedit.com.au/2PELf

    Are you not including endorsements? If so, the term ‘career earnings’ is a little misleading.

    No doubt, the amount of money these boxers were paid is fucking obscene.

    All for something that has no bearing on anything…

    This could also explain the Fermi Paradox. Aliens are watching, but they’re staying away.

    ‘Zaphod, you would not believe the shit these crazy Earthlings place value on. They are clearly a primitive intelligence.’

    • Matt Menezes

      I think Tiger’s earnings are including endorsements. If you look at what he’s won from tour events, it’s a fraction of the total. I think the graph above is what the athletes make from the sport not including endorsements.

    • Chiel Wieringa

      you can leave out “a” and “intelligence” in that last sentence.

      The one who sees the human race with another reference
      would never ever ever talk about intelligence

    • Rusty Shackleford

      None of those earnings have endorsements included. If it did, Michael Jordan would be at the top of the list. He’s been retired over a decade and still making money off endorsements.

  • jeffhre

    I do not care what the pay offered is. I will not be in a confined ring with Mayweather beating the crap out of my limited brain cells for three continuous, horrific minutes! This is facing the best professional athlete in the world at this sport, in the best condition of his life who has been given full permission to turn your skull into a concave object. The insane part is that people agree to do this at any price.

    People hit baseballs, golf balls etc for fun. Undergoing grueling workouts for years, to be regularly hit and beaten, to earn the chance to stand in front of the fists which have beaten world champion boxers, who have beaten multiple athletes whose hands are registered as deadly weapons, and rendered their brains inoperable – is not for fun.

    In the words of Mike Tyson. Everybody has a plan…until they start getting punched in the face.

    • dwidep

      Honestly though, Mayweather is going to be hugging you for 2 of the 3 minutes.

  • Hi admin i agree with you… its really good to see your post…nice job….keep it up


  • Justin M

    Maybe I’m mistaken here, but I think the rationale is that Mayweather is essentially an owner. So, when Michael Jordan packed an arena, the Bulls owners took a significant majority of the revenue (the owners in both cases take on significant risk). In this case, Mayweather splits with maybe just the venue and broadcasting company — and I’m guessing he can basically choose whichever venue/broadcast he wants, so he has great bargaining power. I also wonder how much of that was revenue vs. profit. He may have been required to pay for the fees associated with hosting stuff.

    This is my 100% non-researched guess, so again, I could be wrong.

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