Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao Top Forbes' 2015 List of Highest-Paid Athletes

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2015

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 02:  Floyd Mayweather Jr. throws a left at Manny Pacquiao during their 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 long-awaited superfight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao may not have lived up to the hype, but it was lucrative. The bout pushed both fighters to the top of Forbes' annual list of the 100 highest-paid athletes in the world.

Forbes reports that those on the list earned $3.2 billion, 17 percent more than the top 100 for the 2014 measuring period. Mayweather and Pacquiao, who each fought twice over the past 12 months, earned a combined $460 million.

Here's a full look at the top 10 earners, according to Forbes:

The World's Highest-Paid Athletes for 2015
1Floyd MayweatherBoxing$300 million
2Manny PacquiaoBoxing$160 million
3Cristiano RonaldoSoccer$79.6 million
4Lionel MessiSoccer$73.8 million
5Roger FedererTennis$67 million
6LeBron JamesBasketball$64.8 million
7Kevin DurantBasketball$54.1 million
8Phil MickelsonGolf$50.8 million
9Tiger WoodsGolf$50.6 million
10Kobe BryantBasketball$49.5 million

It's important to note that these totals combine salaries with endorsements. That's why Tiger Woods, whom the outlet notes made less than $1 million on the course during the evaluation period, still managed to crack the top 10.

Alex Myers of Golf Digest pointed out that this was the first time in Woods' pro career that he was not the highest-paid golfer on the planet. 

Boxing may struggle to create the high-profile battles of yesteryear, but these numbers showcase how much money the sport can still generate. Even Pacquiao, who earned slightly more than half of Mayweather's total, earned more than the combined total of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Ryan Mac of Forbes notes Mayweather obliterated the previous one-year record:

Ryan Mac @RMac18

Floyd Mayweather made $300 mil in last 12 months, crushing previous record held by Tiger Woods of $115 mil (2008) http://t.co/4TVsAS9zun

Notably, half of the top 10 features individual athletes from boxing, golf and tennis. The NBA and European soccer, specifically Spain's La Liga, hold the other positions. There are no players from the NFL, MLB or NHL in the elite group.

Mayweather has one more fight under his current deal with Showtime. His future beyond that is unclear at this stage, so he may not be able to come anywhere close to that mind-boggling total for next year's rankings. But even one bout would put him at or near the top, depending on the opponent.

Pacquiao is also in the latter portion of his storied career. The question moving forward is whether new stars will emerge to fill the void atop the earnings list or if those numbers for boxing will become a thing of the past.

For now, boxing is king, at least in terms of the purses it can create for its biggest names.  


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