by G. Brown
It was one of the most hyped matches of the millenium-Mayweather vs McGregor. The fight went a full 10 rounds before Floyd Mayweather finally ended it all with a TKO. The Irishman started out strong but with each ring of the bell, it was obvious that Conor McGregor was out of gas and looking more and more out of his league. By the top of the 10th, McGregor looked less like a boxer and more like a punching bag. Fans say McGregor’s flurry of fists in the early rounds spent all his stamina and he just couldn’t go the distance with the man many call the best defensive boxer ever.
For Mayweather, it was his 50th fight, and he leaves the ring with a record of 50-0. Impressive…but not as impressive as his take home pay. Mayweather earned between $100-$300 million for the match which was enough to push the 40-year old boxer into a very small, elite club of Black athletes who have earned over $1 billion dollars.
Forbes magazine says Mayweather was worth $340 million last year, but CNN Money says “The boxing superstar… has already grossed a reported $700 million in his career from fight purses, which include money from pay-per-view sales, ticket sales and fight endorsements.”
The first Black athlete to hit the $1 billion earned mark was golf pro Tiger Woods back in 2009. Woods perfected 3-iron stinger took out many an opponent to help him dominate on the greens almost from the start of his PGA Tour in 1996. In ’97, Woods won his first U.S Masters Tourney at the age of 21–making him not only the youngest winner, but the first Black golfer to earn the title. According to Forbes, Tiger was officially the first Black athlete to cross the billion dollar mark in earnings. Forbes calculated Woods earnings at $895 million at the end of 2008. A $10.5 million dollar bonus in 2009’s FedEx Cup title pushed Tiger into billionaire status. All of which Tiger accomplished by the time he was only 33-years old.
The only other Black athlete who is a member of the billionaire club is NBA legend, Michael Jordan. The former Tar Heel graduated to the world of pro ball in 1984 and seven years later won his first championship ring with the Chicago Bulls. It was a title Jordan and the Bulls would repeat in ’92 and ’93. His prolific scoring of roughly 30 points per game and the way he seemingly defied gravity to flow up to the board for dunks earned him the name Air Jordan. But Jordan had game off the court as well taking on endorsement deals like with Nike which lead to the top selling Air Jordan sneakers. Other business ventures like a role in ’96 “Space Jam” and investing in pro-teams like the Charlotte Hornets helped turned Jordan into the first billionaire player in NBA history two years ago.
Other athletes like Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Shaq have all earned between $300-500 million, but so far they don’t have the Midas touch like Woods, Jordan and Mayweather to turn those millions into billions.
While Mayweather did have some endorsement deals, he fought for most of his money by beating the other guy in the ring. Mayweather also pocketed big bills from taking home a portion of the profits from ticket sales on the pay-per-view pie.
Mayweather says he’s retiring now. Probably for the best, afterall he needs some time off to go and spend the billion he’s earned in the last two decades.