Boxing: Why Do Fighters Lose Their Money?

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 05:  Floyd Mayweather Jr. addresses the media after his unanimous decision victory against Miguel Cotto after their WBA super welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 5, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It happens in all sports, but it seems like boxers have a greater chance of ending up losing their money and going broke than most other athletes.

When a boxer reach the elite-level status, they often earn more in one night than all but the best team-sport athletes earn in a year.

Seemingly, a champion who can hold on to his belt for two or three years would be set with generational wealth. However, it rarely works out that way.

Boxers may have great discipline in the ring and while in training so they can earn championships and exorbitant purses, but it seems that discipline is often non-existent when it comes to their finances.

Take Floyd Mayweather, for example. Mayweather is one of the greatest fighters of his generation and may rank with the best pound-for-pound fighters of all-time. His earnings are approximately $213 million, according to

Yet Mayweather is constantly flaunting his money by making large sports bets. Mayweather likes to brag about his betting exploits and show off the sports betting tickets from his wagers (source:

He likes to tell his followers how much he has bet and how much he has won, but occasionally, he will admit his losses. Mayweather will almost certainly find out that winning at sports gambling is a most difficult proposition and that it can lead to an onset of gambling issues that can cost him the majority of his fortune.

Perhaps he knows this already.

In addition to gambling, boxers are susceptible to losing their money through bad investments.

Once a well-known boxer earns his fortune in the ring, he may want to maximize those earnings by investing. However, knowing what to invest in is very difficult for many savvy investors.

A boxer is usually not a savvy investor. He spends his time conditioning and working on his skills inside the ring. How would a boxer learn about investing?

As a result, so-called experts try to make the boxer's acquaintance so they can provide financial advice. What they really want is to get a fat commission handling the boxer's portfolio.

Unscrupulous financial advisors may promise the moon, and in the worst circumstances, they may abscond with the boxer's funds. Even if the financial advisor is honest and hard working, he may not have winning investments for the boxer. This is especially true when there are poor economic conditions.

The boxer may think that since he has money today, he will also have money tomorrow. As a result, there may be a lot of conspicuous spending on items that are frivolous or not necessary.

In some cases, a boxer may like to spend money on houses or cars that are tangible and that he should be able to resell if he ever needs the money.

But a strong housing market can go bust quickly. Collector cars can also lose their value in a poor economy.

Boxers can lose money by lending money to family and friends. Big-time earners know that many people will try to get "loans" that they won't be able to pay back. Boxers who are extremely tough in the ring may have a tough time saying no outside the ring.

Another factor that can hurt any boxer who earns a lot of money is divorce. A boxer may get married at a young age and then hit it big later on in his career.

If the marriage falls apart for any reason and the boxer does not have a protective prenuptial agreement, he could easily lose half his assets or more in one fell swoop.

All athletes can lose their money for these reasons, but an athlete in team sports may be less likely to end up destitute for a number of reasons.

In the NFL, when rookies come into the league, they go through a symposium about how to handle all their life situations ( That includes what to do with money.

Just being made aware of these issues makes an athlete less vulnerable to schemes, scams and getting involved in risky propositions.

Also, most team sport athletes are less likely to have the huge paydays that boxers have for the biggest fights.

Boxers don't necessarily have to end up broke. But they need to work on their finances just as they have to work on their skills in the ring if they are going to hold on to their money well after their boxing careers are over.