Los Angeles: Floyd Mayweather's blockbuster May 2 bout with Manny Pacquiao will help make the American fighter's 2015 earnings shatter the all-time record for a sportsman's annual pay, Forbes.com calculated on Thursday.
Forbes noted that Mayweather will likely to earn at least $150 million and Pacquiao more than $100 million for the welterweight world title showdown in Las Vegas. The financial news website said payouts could be higher still if more than three million pay-per-views are sold. Mayweather's haul would represent the highest yearly earnings ever by an athlete, surpassing Tiger Woods' inflation-adjusted record of $125 million in 2008, Forbes said.
Woods currently occupies both first and second place on Forbes' list of all-time highest paid athletes in a given year, adjusted for inflation, his adjusted earnings of $120 million in 2009 number two on the list. NBA legend Michael Jordan is next, with inflation-adjusted earnings of $115 million in both 1997 and 1998. Woods' $113 million in 2007 and 2010 are next.
The highest boxer on the list is former heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson, with inflation adjusted earnings of $112 million in 1996. Forbes said its figures were the result of 25 years of tracking athletes' earnings. Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum has predicted that record-shattering revenue totals for the May 2 mega-fight could surpass $400 million. That includes $74 million from just over 15,000 tickets at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The foreign rights to the fight sold for a record $35 million, according to Arum. As Forbes noted, the big X-factor in a final revenue figure is pay-per-view sales. Boxing's record for pay-per-view purchases is the 2.4 million buys from Mayweather's split-decision win over Oscar de la Hoya.
The record for pay-per-view receipts is the $152 million set by Mayweather's 2013 bout with Saul 'Canelo" Alvarez. Mayweather-Pacquiao, a fight more than five years in the making between the men considered the best pound-for-pound fighters of their generation, is expected to "crush" both pay-per-view numbers, Forbes noted. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the pay-per-view price for the fight will be a record $99 for the high definition feed, with a standard definition version costing a slightly cheaper $89.