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The Five Biggest Boxing Pay Days In History

Floyd Mayweather v Andre Berto - Press Conference

For decades, men have been getting in the boxing ring and throwing punches at other men. These events attract people from all walks of life who are looking to see a good fight. Most of the money that is paid to the men in the ring comes from the tickets that people buy to see the matches as well as TV orders made, which are often times, sold out. The winner of the fight gets to walk about with more money in one night than most people will ever see in a lifetime. Below is a list of the top 5 biggest boxing paydays in history.

Floyd Mayweather VS Manny Pacquiao - “The Fight of the Century” “The Battle For Greatness” in 2015

The fighters in this fight made more money than any other fighter, in any other match in history. The payout to the fighters was actually three times higher than any other fight in history. If you wanted to go see the fight, entry level tickets were priced higher than any Super Bowl in history, costing $5,400. Before the fight even began, both fighters were expected to make over $100 million. In the end, after a unanimous 12 round decision, Mayweather won and walked away from the fight with a 49-0 record.

He managed to tie boxing's all-time record. Many people who saw the fight said that it was relatively boring. For the fighters, however, it was well worth it. According to reports, Mayweather made $180 million on the fight and Pacquiao made $96 million.  Not bad.

Floyd Mayweather VS Canelo Alvarez - “The One” in 2013

As if the fight mentioned above didn't make Floyd Mayweather enough money, this fight is the second highest paid in history. Again, he came out the winner. He was able to outlast Alvarez, and he won with a majority decision after 12 rounds. There was one judge who believed that the match was a draw. This fight, unlike the one mentioned above, was a great fight. Throughout the whole thing, both men fought viciously, hoping not to lose. The total payout for this fight was $85,500,000.

Oscar De La Hoya VS Floyd Mayweather - “The World Awaits” in 2007

Yet again, Floyd Mayweather makes this list. This time, however, he was not the fighter who earned the bigger payday. It was actually De La Hoya, who was the 6 division champ at the time. The men were fighting for the WBC light Middleweight Crown. What made this fight so interesting to people is the drama and the subplot that went along with it. There were reports that Floyd Mayweather's father was going to train De La Hoya.

In the end, Mayweather Sr. wanted too much money to train De La Hoya, and it never happened. The match went on as scheduled and Mayweather won a split decision. After the fight, De La Hoya did an interview with Playboy Magazine, where he let Mayweather know exactly how he felt about him. He said that Mayweather was boring and that the sport would be better if he weren't in it. The payout for this fight was $52,000,000, which would be around $60,200,000 today.

Evander Holyfield VS Mike Tyson - “The Sound and the Fury” AKA “The Bite Fight” in 1997

This is the fight with the 4th highest payout of $35,000,000. Today that would be about $52,400,000. While the payout made this fight a big deal, it isn't what made it the most famous and well-known fight in history. It is what happened in the ring that people will remember and continue talking about until the end of time. During the 3rd round of the fight, Holyfield got Tyson in a hold. Rather than changing his strategy or coming at Holyfield from another direction, he bit Holyfield's ear and removed an inch of cartilage. Holyfield was screaming in pain and the referees stopped to fight to decide what to do. This was something that had never happened in the ring before.

The referee wanted to disqualify Tyson, however, the ringside doctor said that Holyfield could continue fighting, so the fight went on after Tyson was deducted two points. Not long after, Tyson got put in another position that he couldn't get himself out of, and he bit Holyfield's other ear. This time there was no damage, however, Tyson was disqualified. When this happened, a huge brawl started. After things calmed down, about 25 minutes later, Holyfield was announced the winner. After reviewing the events that occurred, Tyson was banned from boxing. A year later, the boxing commission reviewed his case and his license was renewed.

Mike Tyson VS Evander Holyfield - “Finally” in 1996

This fight occurred the year before Tyson took a chunk out of Holyfield's ear. It is the 5th highest paid fight in history at $30,000,000. Today, that would be worth $45,900,000. This fight did not have nearly as much drama as the 1997 fight. What led up to the excitement and earned the fighters so much money for this fight is that both fighters had to wait six years to meet up in the ring again since their first fight. Unlike the 1997 fight, this one was clean. Many people called it a good fight and the upset of the century. Mike Tyson took a bigger beating than he ever had in his career, and Holyfield, the underdog, was victorious.

Considering the amount of money that these boxers make in just one night, for one fight, it makes you wonder why they would step in the ring and take such abuse again. For some, it is the love of the sport. For some, it is the love of the fame. Finally, for many, it is the love of money. The fighters on this list had to make a name for themselves before they were able to make such an enormous amount of money for just one fight.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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