The Highest Purses in Boxing History

Mayweather Pacquiao fight

The Mayweather – Pacquiao fight isn’t the only $100 million plus bout in history.

The much anticipated “Fight of the Century” will be held on May 2nd in Las Vegas against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. Many believe this bout could end up reaching the $400 million mark making it easily the highest boxing purse of all time. Under the contract terms of the fight, Mayweather is to receive 60% of the money.

If the bout plays out as planned, both Mayweather and Pacquiao will receive more purse money than the last 10-15 fighters in high revenue fights before them. This illustrious list includes, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Let’s at some of these famous bouts.

Mayweather’s Two High Grossing Bouts

Floyd Mayweather Jr. fought Saul Avarez on September 13, 2013 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The fight, billed as “The One”, was for the light middleweight title.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Saul Avarez

The fight grossed $150 million and may have been the pinnacle of Alvarez’s career. Mayweather was able to win this bout in 12 rounds to a crowd of 16,746. I can’t imagine the how many people took part in online sports betting in Mexico.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. had two other high grossing fights
• Tyson’s first bout after his incarceration grossed $96 million
Manny Pacquiao’s bout with De La Hoya was his first PPV bout

De La Hoya was finally able to have his major payday back in May of 2007 when he fought Mayweather for a purse of $136 million. This would be Mayweather’s true introduction to the world. His victory over De La Hoya sealed his place not only as a formidable fighter, but as the one of the highest earners in boxer history.

Three Big Bouts for Mike Tyson

Iron Mike Tyson routinely made 8-figure amounts from his fights. His bout with Lennox Lewis is still considered one of the largest in history with a gross of $100.2 million. The “Lewis-Tyson: Is On” bout took place on June 8, 2002 at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis Tennessee. Lewis was able to knock Tyson out and secure the win in the 8th round.

Tyson Holyfield

Evander Holyfield secured his place among this list with his bout with Mike Tyson on June 28, 1997 in Las Vegas. Billed as the “The Sound and the Fury” lived up to its name literally when Tyson bit off Holyfield’s ear in the 3rd round. Tyson not only lost the fight, but was fined $3 million and revoked of his license.

Many fighters were able to get very good paydays by fighting Tyson. Another was Peter McNeeley who faced Tyson on August 19, 1995. The bout, called “He’s Back” grossed $96 million because it was the first fight following Tyson’s release his 3-year prison term for his rape conviction in 1992 which was well known in U.S gambling news. Tyson won easily.

Back to Mayweather, Holyfield and Once again Tyson

Floyd Mayweather Jr. took on Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in LasVegas for the Super Welterweight Championship. On May 5, 2012, Cotto, with a record of 37 wins and 2 losses, made his 3rd title defense. The $94 million fight ended with a Mayweather win by an unanimous decision.

George Foreman was in the legendary bout “The Rumble in the Jungle” which also had a high purse. To gain money for his youth center, Foreman made a late comeback in his career. The $80 million bout called “the battle of the ages”, a young Evander Holyfield was able to easily defeat foreman and end his career on April 19th in Atlantic City.

Mike Tyson finally had the opportunity to fight Holyfield in a bout that was interrupted by Tyson’s prison sentence. The $77 million bout, billed as “Finally”, was in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on September 10th, 1996. It was Tyson’s first title defense as WBA Heavyweight Champion. Holyfield won and a rematch was planned.

Enter Manny Pacquiao, Sugar Shane, Trinidad and De La Hoya

On July 5th, Manny Pacquiao had his first major payday against Shane Mosley in a bout that grossed $75 million. Billed as “The Undaunted”, the WBO Welterweight Championship bout was held in Las Vegas. It brought Pacquiao into the Pay-Per-View (PPV) with Showtime boxing. Pac-man won the fight by unanimous decision.

Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya fought on September 18th, 1999 in a bout that grossed $64 million. The fight, known as “The Fight of the Millenium”, unified WBC and IBF World Welterweight titles. In the last of the entitled “superfights” of the 20th century, De La Hoya dominate early and won setting a record for PPV’s of 1.4 million buys.

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