The two most famous boxers on the planet are also the two highest paid athletes of the past 12 months. Welterweights Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, who fought in arguably the most anticipated boxing event in history, were listed by Forbes as the top earning sports figures from June 1, 2014, to June 1, 2015, and it wasn't even close.
While the May 2 fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao may have been "boring" to some viewers, it was highly lucrative, and reflects the disparity between the two boxers and the rest of the list. Mayweather's total earnings came in at a staggering $300 million, while Pacquiao pulled in $160 million. Meanwhile, Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was a distant third, at $79.6 million. The three-time Ballon d'Or winner finished 3.75 times behind Mayweather's figure, and made half of what Pacquiao earned.
It may be hard for many to truly grasp just how profitable and grandiose the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was, compared to other pay-per-view fights. Mayweather-Pacquiao received 4.4 million buys, shattering the next highest fight between Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya from 2007, which had 2.48 million buys. The fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena also produced $71 million in gate revenue, compared to the previous record of $20 million when Mayweather fought Canelo Alvarez in 2013.
Mayweather and Pacquiao also had other fights in the 12-month period. Mayweather fought Marcos Maidana at MGM Grand for the second time, while Pacquiao fought Chris Algieri in Macau, China. Both were victories for the two prize fighters, and both boxers took the majority share of the purse.
Both Mayweather, 38, and Pacquiao, 36, are nearing the end of their careers. Mayweather is scheduled to fight in September against a yet-to-be-determined opponent, while Pacquiao is recovering from a shoulder injury, and has targeted his next bout for 2016.
The rest of the list includes Lionel Messi ($73.8 million), Roger Federer ($67 million), LeBron James ($64.8 million), Kevin Durant ($54.1) and Phil Mickelson ($50.8 million).