The 2000 film starring Russel Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, entitled Gladiator, somewhat showcased what it was like to live the life of one of the fabled Roman Empire era warriors. Fighting against fellow man in arena, spectated by thousands of people. Some fought for freedom, some fought for power, and some fought for glory. Well, since then, society has evolved tremendously. We don’t quite do gladiator fights anymore, and needless to say this is for various reasons. In this day and age, “professional gladiator” isn’t an entry you’d typically expect on one’s resume. What we lack in gladiators, however, we make up for in boxers.
Boxing isn’t nearly as violent, and there isn’t usually quite the same level of savagery you’d expect from a fight between two gladiators. However, some of the same basic principles still apply in the ring as they did in the coliseum. In fact, because of the ability of television to spread media, boxing matches attract the viewership of millions all over the world. While they may not be fighting with the same stakes as Russel was in the movie, it’s no secret professional boxers receive unbelievable compensation for their fights. In fact, some boxers (even the retired ones) go on to become some of the wealthiest athletes all over the world. To showcase this, here are the top 5 richest boxers in the world.
5.) Lennox Lewis (Net Worth of $140 Million)
Although numerous other factors come into play, the core principle of getting paid in professional boxing is quite simple: if you win, you make more money. Lennox “The Lion” Lewis, was definitely no stranger to winning. Hailed as the last undisputed heavyweight champion, Lewis fought a total of 44 bouts throughout his professional boxing career. Of those 44 bouts, Lewis won 41 of them, having lost only 2 fights with 1 draw. Having won against the likes of other legendary fighters like Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, and Vitali Klitschko, Lewis’ career winnings are the core source of his $140 million net worth.
4.) Oscar De La Hoya (Net Worth of $200 Million)
Dubbed as “The Golden Boy,” Oscar De La Hoya ranks next on this list of the world’s wealthiest boxers. De La Hoya is the first example on this list of how the profile of a fighter somewhat affects how much he ends up taking home from a fight at the end of the day. Lennox Lewis had 4 fewer losses than De La Hoya, who throughout his career had been defeated a total of 6 times out of his 45 bouts. WIth that being said, this didn’t stop De La Hoya from pulling absolutely incredible pay-per-view numbers, amassing over $700 million from those numbers throughout his career. Now currently acting as founder and director of Golden Boy Promotions, the sports promotion company he started while he was still an active boxer, De La Hoya remains one of the wealthiest boxers to have ever stepped into the ring.
3.) Manny Pacquiao (Net Worth of $200 Million)
For a long time, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao was considered by many to be the #1 pound for pound boxer in the world, and deservedly so. From the beginning of this career, Manny took the professional boxing world by storm, absolutely decimating opponents left and right. To this day, he is the only fighter to have ever won titles in seven different weight classes. During his time, it is estimated that his career earnings alone have cashed in for over $400 million, which puts into perspective how he has amassed such a fortune as a professional boxer. However, as is appropriate for someone with such diversity in the ring, Manny proves to be just as diverse in his endeavors out of it. In the Philippines, Manny was just recently elected to Senator, after having served as a member of the Philippine House of Representatives from 2010 to 2016. He has also tried his efforts in starting a singing career, as well as serving as a playing coach in the Philippine Basketball League. Manny Pacquiao seemingly does everything, and with a name and career as valuable as his, it should be of no surprise that he ranks this high on a list of the world’s wealthiest boxers.
2.) George Foreman (Net Worth of $250 Million)
A two-time world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist, George “Big George” Foreman might be the only boxer on this list who has amassed more wealth from his work out of the ring, than his bouts in it. This isn’t to say however, that Foreman didn’t have a legendary boxing career, as he most certainly did. His retirement in 1997 left him with a record of 76 wins and only 5 career losses. He is also in the record books for being the oldest heavyweight champion in the history of the sport, having regained it at the age of 45, following a brief retirement period. Since then, he has been inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame for his marvelous career achievements.
However, George Foreman stands out as much more than just a boxer. Foreman is also a best-selling author, ordained Christian minister, and entrepreneur. His most well-known, and likely his most successful business venture outside of the ring would probably be the George Foreman Grill. Fully titled the “George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine,” Foreman did not actually create nor distribute the grills. Rather, the grill was later promoted by George after it had already been created. Having sold over 100 million units since its release, it’s unknown exactly how much George has cumulatively made from these sales. He did, however, earn $138 million in 1999 after selling the rights to use his name on the grill. Currently sitting on a net worth of roughly $250 million, George Foreman ranks as the second wealthiest boxer in the world.
1.) Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Net Worth of $400 Million)
If anyone should serve as an example of the potential wealth that can be garnered by professional boxers, it’s Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. Having accumulated a net worth of roughly $400 million throughout his professional boxing career, not only is he easily the wealthiest boxer, but he also stands as one of the wealthiest athletes in the world. Floyd has, for all intents and purposes, been unmatched throughout his career as a professional boxer, having retired undefeated throughout 49 career fights. Time and time again he’s proved that he was the best of his time, and he certainly has the earnings to back it up. The much-anticipated fight between Floyd and Manny Pacquiao alone, for example, led Floyd to take home an estimated total of $220 million. This trend of big money fights was apparent throughout the entirety of his career, generating him over $1 billion in pay-per-view revenue. Weather you like him or not, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has solidified his place as one of the greatest boxers to have ever lived, and with his greatness came the figures that undoubtedly justify his nickname, “Money Mayweather.”
These men may not exactly be gladiators, but that doesn’t change the fact that they risk their lives every time they step into the ring. Ultimately, these athletes do it not only for themselves, but also for (as iconic ring announcer Michael Buffer puts it) the thousands in attendance and the millions watching at home. These boxers, without a shred of doubt, become this wealthy for very good reason.