It’s no secret to anyone that boxing is a very lucrative sport at the top levels. So many people around the world train tirelessly for years to try and earn a paycheck bigger than they could ever get in a regular job.
Of course, not all professional boxers get paid the same for every fight and there are a number of variables that will affect their earnings. In this article, we’re going to take a look at what those variables are and find out how much money professional boxers really make.
How Do Boxers Get Paid?
As you probably already knew, professional boxing is anything but a regular 9-5 job. There’s no hourly wage or guaranteed salary because a lot of a boxer’s income is based on how well they perform.
The main source of most professional boxers’ income comes from fighting. The money earned from a professional bout is known as a ‘fight purse’, which is basically the amount of money the event organizer pools in for the fight.
The purse is made up of the total prize money available and it is then split between the two fighters. The most popular fighter (the one who will generate the most revenue for the event) will often be given a larger cut of the purse.
Famously, all the top, professional athletes have deals with brands about sponsorship. Basically, the brand will pay a boxer a fixed sum of money (either as one, single payment or contracted, regular payments) to promote them.
This promotion can take many forms, from appearing in TV commercials to displaying the company’s logo on their trunks.
The amount boxers earn from these sponsorship deals can vary massively depending on the notoriety of the boxer and the amount of money the brand believes they can earn from the deal.
For example, one of the most lucrative and famous boxers of all time, Floyd Mayweather, famously received $1 million from brands like Burger King and FanDuel for single events!
By side hustle, we basically mean anything a boxer does that isn’t specifically related to them actually boxing. For a lot of professionals, this means things like merchandise and separate businesses or investments.
At the lower levels of the pro circuit, boxers will often simply work another job to supplement their earnings from the ring. A common side job for these boxers is something in the gym they train at- for example, coaching others.
How Much Does The Average Boxer Earn In A Year?
Ignoring all of the top millionaires, let’s work out how much the average professional could expect to make in a year.
As an estimate, an average level pro boxer could earn around $8000 per fight. When boxers are still trying to work their way up the ranks in the pro scene, they will fight a lot more often than at the top levels, potentially having 8 fights per year.
Therefore, an average boxer could earn $64,000 from fights in a year. That might seem like a whole lot of money, but there are so many expenses attributed to the life of a boxer that often get overlooked.
For example, training fees will often take as much as 10% of the fight purse, management fees can take as much as 25% and there are plenty of taxes to pay for a self-employed boxer.
After all that, a boxer will be lucky to have half of their cut of the fight purse, meaning they’ll actually only earn around $30,000 per year from fights.
Because we’re only looking at average level boxers here, it’s unlikely that there’ll be many lucrative sponsorship deals to supplement these earnings.
A popular (and lucky) boxer could earn around $5000 per year from endorsements and sponsorship deals. However, sometimes this will take the form of training equipment and gym usage rather than cold hard cash.
How Much Do The Biggest Boxers Earn In A Year?
At the highest levels, pretty much every boxer can become a millionaire from a single fight, even after taxes and fees. Let’s take a look at some examples of the world’s biggest names and see how much they earned in a single year.
- Floyd Mayweather – Famously, Mayweather makes very little money from sponsorship deals and endorsements and prefers to let his fighting do the talking. It’s estimated that he made as much as $300 million per year at his peak.
- Anthony Joshua – One of the biggest British boxing names of all time, Joshua can’t compete with the likes of Mayweather for monetary bragging rights. However, he still earned a reasonable $70 million per year at his peak, which definitely isn’t too bad.
- Canelo Alvarez – Alvarez has been involved in some very lucrative fights during his career and reportedly made $37 million in 2020.
- Deontay Wilder – During the epic trilogy between Wilder and Fury, both fighters walked away with millions of dollars in their back pockets. It’s reported that Wilder earned around $12 million for the third fight between the two and likely earned as much as $15 million in the whole year.
How Much Do Olympic Boxers Get Paid?
Famously, the International Olympic Committee doesn’t pay any athlete a cash prize for winning medals or any kind of salary in any event. For that reason, there are large differences between how much Olympic boxers from poorer and richer nations are paid.
Former British Olympic boxer, Tony Jeffries outlined how he would earn very little money until he had qualified for the games.
At that point, he was paid around £2000 ($2700) per month. Apparently, Jeffries could have earned £20,000 for a gold medal performance. However, he received only £5000 for winning bronze.
In a poorer country than Great Britain, boxers could be paid as little as $15,000 for the whole year by their Olympic team, which then needs to go to training and management expenses.
If you thought boxing wasn’t worth the money before, you might be reconsidering it now! Sure, they have to train hard for years of their life and risk serious injury every time they step in the ring.
However, there are very few jobs in the world that can earn you as much money as the top boxing pros make.
If you’re thinking about taking up boxing or are working your way up the professional ladder, keep dreaming big and maybe one day you can make millions from the sport, too!
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