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Floyd Mayweather Tops Forbes' 2014 List of Highest-Paid Athletes in World

USA Today
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2014

With a nickname like "Money," it comes as no surprise that superstar boxer Floyd Mayweather is once again the highest-paid athlete in the world.   

According to Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes, Mayweather has earned $105 million over the past year, which puts him on the top of the list for the second time in three years.

Here is a look at Forbes' top 10:

Forbes' List of Highest-Paid Athletes for 2014
RankAthleteSportTotal Earnings
1Floyd MayweatherBoxing$105 million
2Cristiano RonaldoSoccer$80 million
3LeBron JamesBasketball$72.3 million
4Lionel MessiSoccer$64.7 million
5Kobe BryantBasketball$61.5 million
6Tiger WoodsGolf$61.2 million
7Roger FedererTennis$56.2 million
8Phil MickelsonGolf$53.2 million
9Rafael NadalTennis$44.5 million
10Matt RyanFootball$43.8 million
Forbes.com

Mayweather's ascent to the top stems from his lucrative fights against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Marcos Maidana. The Alvarez fight in particular was a record-breaking one as it set new marks for pay-per-view gross, live gate and total revenue, per Badenhausen.

Despite the notion that boxing isn't as popular as it once was, there is more money to be had for the top stars today than there was 25 years ago, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell:

Mayweather also became the first athlete to ever crack the $100 million barrier besides golf icon Tiger Woods, per Badenhausen.

Speaking of Woods, he dropped to No. 6 after topping the list in 2013. According to Forbes, that had plenty to do with the fact that the partnership between Woods and EA Sports ended. Additionally, injuries have kept Woods off the course for part of the year and prevented him from collecting prize money.

As for Mayweather, he stands a good chance of maintaining this position for 2015 in the event that he fights twice over the next year as expected. Those fights will occur without the help of Golden Boy Promotions, however, as Mayweather's camp decided to sever ties with the company, according to ESPN.com's Dan Rafael.

Mayweather Promotions chief executive Leonard Ellerbe said that Mayweather will "absolutely not" work with Golden Boy moving forward and that Mayweather's fights will occur under the Mayweather Promotions umbrella, per Rafael.

"Mayweather Promotions will continue to promote Floyd's fights and Floyd will continue to put on the biggest fights in boxing," Ellerbe said. "I have a tremendous team and staff and we continue to expand year by year and we're ready to go."

That decision could lead to even more cash staying in Mayweather's bank account since he will be in full control of all his fights.

Mayweather isn't a universally beloved athlete by any means, but he generates universal interest. He is the one true superstar in boxing today and his financial standing reflects that.

It remains to be seen how much longer Mayweather will choose to compete, but he figures to be the king of the sporting world for as long as he does.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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