According to SI.com’s Fortunate 50, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is projected to be the highest-paid athlete in American sports for the second straight year, potentially earning between $90 million and $128 million.
In July of last year, Mayweather was named the highest-paid American athlete for 2012, topping Sports Illustrated’s Fortunate 50 ahead of golfers Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods at Nos. 2 and 3.
“Wow. There’s one word: Impressive. The other phrase is ‘Well-deserved.’ I’m very happy for Floyd and his family, and, as he always says, it’s hard work and dedication and you have to add to that, God-given talent,” said Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who promotes Mayweather along with Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe.
“It is truly an athlete which you don’t even see once in a generation. So he is really, in my opinion, the greatest fighter to ever lace up the gloves. It is amazing when you see his performances. It doesn’t matter what the styles are, whether it’s a boxer, a puncher or a brawler, he just knows how to adjust and to make everybody look ordinary. That’s the sign of a dominant athlete and the financial results, obviously, reflect that as well.”
The report ranks LeBron James of the NBA’s Miami Heat second at $56.5 million, followed by the New Orleans Saints’ QB Drew Brees at $47.8 million, and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant at just under $47 million.
Professional golf’s Tiger Woods is fifth with $40.8 million in a Top 50 poll that includes 25 baseball players, 13 basketball players and eight football players. There are no female athletes listed for the fifth consecutive year.
“It’s great for the sport of boxing to have the highest paid athlete, but I think that there is obviously more to Floyd than just being a boxer. He is an entertainer,” said Schaefer. “He has clearly crossed over into the general market. He continues to entertain his fans and disappoint his haters who would like to see him lose, because that’s just not happening. So, I’m very happy for him.”
For his unanimous decision victory over Robert Guerrero on May 4, Mayweather pocketed a purse of $32 million to the $3 million earned for Guerrero, tying the record mark he earned with a unanimous decision victory over Miguel Cotto on May 5 of 2012. According to Forbes’ Magazine, Mayweather netted a total of $45 million against Cotto.
An online report by Forbes’ Magazine estimates that Mayweather’s exclusive multi-fight venture with Showtime and its parent company, CBS Corporation, could be worth a guaranteed $250,000 million to Mayweather, who made his first-ever appearance on Showtime Pay Per View when he beat Guerrero.
Nicknamed “Money,” Mayweather made $85 million for his victories over Cotto and Victor Ortiz, whom he dethroned via fourth-round knockout in September of 2011 to become WBC 147-pound belholder. Last June, Mayweather topped Forbes’ list of its 100 highest paid athletes internationally, surpassing runner-up Manny Pacquiao with $62 million from earnings and endorsements.
Mayweather, 36, holds the all-time record of pay-per-view buys with more than 2.5 million for his victory over current Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya in May of 2007, dethroning De La Hoya by ther’s split-decision for the WBC’s junior middleweight belt.
Mayweather-Guerrero “exceeded a million pay per view buys,” according to Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime sports. He improved to 44-0 with 26 knockouts in defense of his WBC welterweight belt, and became THE RING 147-pound champion, ending Guerrero’s 15-bout winning streak that had included nine knockouts.
Mayweather’s victory over Cotto earned him an eighth belt in five weight classes, generating 1.5 million buys and $94 million in pay per view revenue on HBO Pay Per View. Mayweather-Cotto ranks as the second highest grossing non-heavyweight pay-per-view event in boxing history, with Mayweather-De La Hoya being listed as No. 1, all-time, at $137 million.
Mayweather’s unanimous decision over Shane Mosley in May of 2010 totaled 1.4 million buys and earned the fighter a career-high $40 million, much of that from a guaranteed purse of $22.5 million.
In September of 2011, Mayweather’s win over Ortiz generated 1.25 million buys. He had previously totaled a million buys for his one-sided unanimous decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in September of 2009.
Schaefer, Ellerbe and Espinoza may be now considering a Sept. 14 megabout between Mayweather and RING 154-pound champion and WBC beltholder Saul Canelo Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs), a 22-year-old Mexican-born star.
NOTE: Showtime’s All-Access: Mayweather vs. Guerrero Epilogue will premiere on May 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT