Mayweather’s check is just the latest in a career of massive paydays since the formerly coined “Pretty Boy” morphed into “Money” after his split from Top Rank and its CEO Bob Arum in 2006. How much he makes and how he spends his money is as much a part of the Mayweather persona and narrative as what he does in the ring. Mayweather wore a hat to Friday’s weigh-in that read: ”Money: Just Make It.”
Saturday’s fight marks the fourth bout of six in the blockbuster deal Mayweather signed with Showtime in February 2013 that will pay out more than $200 million. The Maidana rematch marks the tenth straight fight Mayweather has earned at least $25 million for entering the ring. Mayweather topped Forbes’ 2014 list of the world’s highest-paid athletes with earnings of $105 million over 12 months. He became just the second athlete after Tiger Woods to earn more than $100 million in a single year. Forbes estimates that Mayweather has earned roughly $420 million during his career from fighting. Mayweather earns nothing outside the ring from endorsements. Instead, he gets companies like Corona and O’Reilly Auto Parts to sponsor his fights and market the pay-per-view because that is where Mayweather can make a killing.
Mayweather’s biggest payday was for his Sept. 2013 fight against Canelo Alvarez billed as “The One.” The fight generated 2.2 million PPV buys and grossed a record $150 million from PPV. Total fight revenues approached $200 million, including sponsorships, merchandise, closed-circuit, international TV and the record $20 million gate. Mayweather is able to cash in because he also serves as promoter via Mayweather Promotions in addition to fighter. So after expenses are paid and Showtime and the cable providers get their cut, almost every other dollar goes into Mayweather’s pocket. He banked more than $70 million for the Canelo fight.
Mayweather is the world’s highest-paid athlete, but his boasts about his earnings don’t always match reality. He posted an infographic on Instagram in May on his expected Maidana earnings for their first fight: “I’m waiting for the PPV numbers to come in so I can make another $38,000,000.00 on the back-end… making it a grand total of $70,000,000.00.” He was pushing a $70 million payday for the Maidana rematch as well during the summer press tour for Saturday’s fight.
A $70 million payday was and is wishful thinking for the pound-for-pound champ. The first Maidana bout generated roughly 900,000 PPV buys, according to multiple sources, and almost no upside for Mayweather beyond his $32 million guarantee. Maidana and Mayweather embarked on an expensive five-city press tour this summer to drum up interest in Saturday’s fight, but it is going to be hard-pressed to top 900,000 buys, which means another fight with a limited payout from Mayweather’s share of PPV buys beyond his guarantee. Showtime did not report an official PPV number for the first Maidana fight and is not expected to for the second one either.
Even if the he Maidana rematch is not a PPV knockout, it will still make Mayweather the undisputed PPV king with roughly 14 million career buys for his 12 PPV appearances for HBO and Showtime. Manny Pacquiao ranks second on the all-time list with more than 13 million buys. The two longtime PPV stars are nearing the end of their careers, but the long discussed face-off between the two would still likely top the 2.5 million record buys set by Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. Time is running out though and the blood feud between Top Rank/HBO/Bob Arum and Mayweather/Showtime/Al Haymon shows little sign of softening.
Saturday’s fight will be the first under Showtime’s new plan to move up the start of its boxing PPV telecasts from 9 pm ET to 8 pm. Mayweather is on board with the change. “Floyd is an innovator. If there is a new idea that can expand the boxing audience or elevate the sport or change the presentation in a positive way, he is all for it,” says Showtime Sports head Stephen Espinoza. And if a few more East Coast fans sign up for the PPV, all the better for the champ. Just means more money in the pocket of Money Mayweather.
source: forbes.com by Kurt Badenhausen