Big fights make for major box-office events these days with the sport’s top stars earning eyewatering sums whenever they enter the ring. Here are some of the biggest purses ever fought for in the pro boxing ranks.
£675m – Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao, May 2015
They billed it the Fight of the Century or the Battle for Greatness but, sadly, a showdown almost six years in the making between two legends of the ring turned into something of an anti-climax.
The contest in Las Vegas failed to match the hype – Mayweather won the welterweight scrap on points – but with “Money” taking over £200m out of the purse and Pacquiao pocketing well over £100m, it still turned into a lucrative hour’s work for the pair.
£660m – Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor, August 2017
The only belt on the line for this Vegas dust-up was the Money Belt – made of alligator leather, 24-carat gold and encrusted with over 3,000 diamonds – as two codes collided for yet more preposterous bundles of cash.
The Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History was this one’s understated working title, though even at the age of 40, Mayweather proved far too canny for MMA star McGregor, winning a tasty affair in the tenth.
£190m – Floyd Mayweather v Oscar de la Hoya, May 2007
It’s all about The Money – or at least this list of richest fights is. Mayweather has five of the most lucrative paydays in history but a special mention to this showdown with The Golden Boy from way back when.
Well, for once it wasn’t Mayweather banking the biggest cheque. De la Hoya was the pre-eminent name among the lighter weights back in the day, though Mayweather turned the tables in Vegas winning a classic on a split decision.
£150m – Evander Holyfield v Mike Tyson, June 1997
What began life as a fight hailed The Sound and The Fury, ended up being proclaimed The Bite Fight after one of the most bizarre world title set-tos of all time.
Tyson was determined to get his teeth into Holyfield after losing to the same man a year earlier, though no one expected him to do it literally, Iron Mike famously chewing a chunk out of the champ’s ear.
Tyson was disqualified, lost his licence and was hit with a £3m fine, small change out of the £25m he made from the fight.
£140m – Lennox Lewis v Mike Tyson, June 2002
Then-record pay-per-view sales added a few more noughts to the purse for these two giants of the ring, as they traded blows during a world title bout in Memphis back in 2002.
Lewis held all the belts, Tyson none, which guaranteed no end of spite from Iron Mike in the build-up to the contest, which turned into a cakewalk for the Briton.
Lewis had Tyson on the canvas in the fourth and left him there permanently in the eighth, with each man netting around £15m apiece from a purse almost five times the amount.