Anthony Joshua And The Biggest Single-Fight Paychecks In Boxing History
Depending on who you ask, Anthony Joshua's 12-round win over an overweight, underprepared Andy Ruiz was historic for a number of reasons. It was a historic moment that cemented AJ as a multiple-time world champion and, as such, one of the most prominent athletes in the history of his country. It almost certainly historically anticlimactic to watch, given the weight of expectations on both boxers. And it was also an historically lucrative evening for the eventual winner.
But in this era of mega money fights and nine-figure multi-fight contracts, it's interesting to see just where Joshua's bumper night actually ranks among the most profitable bouts ever fought by a single boxer. Here's where he sits.
Evander Holyfield & Mike Tyson: $35 million & $30 million USD respectively (vs. eachother, 1997)
The concept of any boxer earning as much as these two did back in the '90s was foreign, but such was the power of the hype surrounding Tyson's heavyweight decision at the time. The fight would go on to live in infamy as the scene of Tyson's bite on Holyfield's ear, but the amounts the two earned individually were also the most in history at the time, and the most a boxer would be paid for a decade. At least until...
Oscar De La Hoya: $52 million USD (vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr., 2007)
It's supremely hard to imagine a boxer like Floyd Mayweather taking home half of his opponent's purse from a fight. 2007, however, was a different time. Even though Mayweather came into the fight 37-0, De La Hoya was still the main attraction at the time, taking home more than $50 million of the fight's $130 total earnings.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.: $100 million+ USD (vs. Canelo Alvarez, 2013)
By 2013, Money was making the kind of bank to justify his nickname, but the first time he earned nine-figures for a single night's work came in his mega bout against (at the time) plucky upstart Canelo Alvarez.
Anthony Joshua: $52 - $78 million USD (vs. Andy Ruiz Jr., 2019)
AJ - Ruiz II had an almost unprecedented level of buzz surrounding it for a fight this year, and as such sparked a monstrous bidding war between those who wanted to host it — one eventually won with the endless pockets of Saudi Arabian government. It was something reflected in Joshua's monster earnings — the highest ever a British fighter and, incidentally, the highest-ever for a fight not involving...
Floyd Mayweather Jr. & Manny Pacquaio: $180 million & $120 million USD respectively (vs. eachother, 2015)
Mayweather-Pacquiao, it could be argued, kicked off an entirely new era of big money boxing, and is to this day the only time that both boxers in a fight have earned more than $100 million USD for their efforts.. The two agreed to split the fight's $300 million purse 60/40 in favour of Mayweather.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. & Conor McGregor: $275 million & $85 million USD respectively (vs. eachother, 2017)
It's called 'the money fight' for a reason, however it was of course Mayweather who, in hosting UFC star Conor McGregor in his territory, took home the bulk of the earnings that the most-watched fight in history generated.