The honors continue to roll in for unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr., even though he still is behind bars serving an 87-day jail sentence that began on June 1.
Mayweather has been named the highest-paid American athlete for 2012, an honor that tops Sports Illustrated’s Fortunate 50 ahead of golfers Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods at Nos. 2 and 3.
Nicknamed “Money,” Mayweather made $85 million for two fights last year, including his fourth-round knockout victory in September that dethroned Victor Ortiz as WBC welterweight belholder.
Last month, Mayweather topped Forbes’ list of its 100 highest paid athletes internationally, trumping second-place boxing rival Manny Pacquiao with $62 million from earnings and endorsements.
“I’m very happy that one of the fighters we have a close relatioship with has become the highest-paid athlete. That’s well-done and well-deserved,” said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer.
“This money has been generated by fans who like to watch his fights, and not like it is by a league which pays an athlete. This is about a guy who has the fans paying to see him fight. This just shows the tremendous popularity that Floyd Mayweather carries.”
On July 11, Mayweather (43-0, 26 knockouts) was named “The Best Fighter,” or, what is essentially Fighter of The Year at the ESPYs’, trumping other nominees such as RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward and mixed martial arts stars Jon Jones and Anderson Silva.
Mayweather was chosen for the fourth time in the past six years by the ESPY’s, with Pacquiao taking the honors the other two times, including for 2011.
In May, Mayweather earned an all-time boxing record guaranteed purse of $32 million for his unanimous decision victory that dethroned Miguel Cotto as WBC junior middleweight beltholder.
“There are are millions and millions of fight fans out there who just can’t wait for Floyd Mayweather to come back and entertain them,” said Schaefer. “Floyd Mayweather is the most skilled, and the most gifted and he’s the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world.”
Photos by Tom Hogan, Hoganphotos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com