Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Purse: Known Prize Money Payout Distribution

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 3, 2015

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 02:  Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates the unanimous decision victory during the welterweight unification championship bout on May 2, 2015 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The one guarantee every fan and analyst could make coming out of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s win over Manny Pacquiao on May 2 before the megafight happened is both men were going to make a ton of money. 

Now, with the match in the books, it's time to look closer at just how much constitutes a ton. When the fight was first announced in February, Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes reported the total payout for Mayweather and Pacquiao would be around $200 million:   

Mayweather and Pacquiao will split the purse 60/40 in Mayweather’s favor. Reports have circulated that the fighters will earn $150 million (Mayweather) and $100 million (Pacquiao), but those figures might be optimistic unless PPV buys go crazy. The fighters are more likely to earn $120 million and $80 million, respectively.

It turns out Badenhausen should have listened to the optimistic projections or even taken them further. As the anticipation began to increase, even before tickets went on sale in late April, The Associated Press (via Fox Sports) reported the purse was likely going to approach $300 million:

New estimates show Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s payoff for fighting Manny Pacquiao could easily be $180 million, up substantially from earlier predictions of $120 million. Pacquiao gets the short end of the purse, but even that is expected to be well over $100 million by the time everything is tallied up.

For perspective, the current record for highest-grossing pay-per-view fight involved Mayweather and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in 2013 with around $150 million. That fight also netted Mayweather more than $80 million, per Badenhausen

Just based on the early estimates for Mayweather-Pacquiao, which project around $300 million in revenue, it certainly seems Mayweather will clear at least $160 million when all is said and done. 

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To put it another way, as Football Memes did on Twitter (via ESPN's Darren Rovell), here's what Mayweather and Pacquiao earned with the passing of all 12 rounds:

Darren Rovell @darrenrovell

Per Round Payouts based on $180M/$120M split (H/T @footymemes) http://t.co/oEagMnRFLr

Terms of the deal signed by Mayweather and Pacquiao involved a 60-40 split, with Mayweather getting the higher total. Final payout totals for the fight won't be known until pay-per-view buys come in, which John Branch of The New York Times reported will be the biggest source of income. 

Because of the magnitude of the fight as well as the various entities in play, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao cost a record-breaking $89 on pay-per-view in standard definition ($99 in high definition).

One reason for the high price tag—aside from the obvious being that fans would pay those prices to see this fight after years of rumors—is due to the joint promotion efforts for HBO and Showtime. 

John Locher/Associated Press

Joe Flint of The Wall Street Journal wrote at the end of March the two networks were sparring over their cut of the revenue. Pacquiao is under contract to HBO, and Mayweather has a deal with Showtime. Flint's report notes the two networks wanted a deal that heavily favored their side over the pay-per-view distributors:

"The initial offer from HBO and Showtime was a 70-30 split," Flint wrote, "people close to the fight said. Pay-TV providers immediately rejected that and there has been little movement from either side since."

That offer speaks volumes over how much leverage the two networks believed they had, which they did. No one can blame the pay-per-view distributors for rejecting such a heavily skewed offer, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event that is going to make a lot of money for everyone involved. 

Mayweather and Pacquiao are obviously the two biggest beneficiaries as the attractions, but everyone stands to gain a tremendous amount of money from the fight. It's taken years to make this fight happen for many reasons, though it appears to have worked out for all parties based on the projected money that will be made when final numbers come in.

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