Here’s how Floyd Mayweather became the richest athlete on the planet

By Victor Ochieng

Floyd Mayweather Jr. emerged as the highest paid athlete of 2014, having earned $105 million. This year, the five-division champion is set to make more than his total 2014 earnings in just a single fight when he boxes Manny Pacquiao on May 2.

His entrepreneurial skills have received admiration from many, leading analysts to scrutinize how he manages to earn more money than other boxers. Obviously, Mayweather’s earnings are normally high because he’s got a huge following and is the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

That aside, Mayweather is earning large amounts because of a bold decision he made in 2006 when he paid $750,000 to opt out of a contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank promotions. Mayweather, famously known as “Money,” had worked with Arum’s company for the initial 10 years of his professional boxing career. It was during his time with Top Rank that he became one of the world’s most respected boxers.

When Mayweather made a contract buyout, he skipped an $8 million fight that pit him against Antonio Margarito, leveraging a provision in his contract with Top Rank that allowed him to opt out of the contract to become a free agent by paying $750,000.

Arum, who’s also the Top Rank promotions CEO, revealed that before Floyd left his company, he had asked for $20 million in a guaranteed purse to step in the ring with Oscar De La Hoya.

“He wants $20 million for the De La Hoya fight? It’s not there. Sometimes, my man, you gotta know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. We’ll talk about things down the road,” Arum said.

Although Mayweather wasn’t offered the money, he took full control of his career and ended up earning $25 million from the De La Hoya fight the next year. Having known how important it is to run his show, Mayweather has done a lot in the promotion of his fights and has negotiated lucrative deals on his own.

Floyd knows how sweet it is to earn a percentage from a fight. Since he started working under his stable, he’s earned enormous sums from his matches. In his 2013 fight against Canelo Alvarez, Mayweather pocketed an $80 million paycheck, with PPV accounting for close to $40 million.

He developed a strategy to earn more money as he progressed in his fights. He signed a better deal with Showtime in 2013 after parting ways with HBO and later got a promoter’s license in Nevada to allow him run his show through Mayweather Promotions.

Interestingly, the fighter has earned more than $400 million from his professional career, with a majority of it coming after he parted ways with Top Rank in 2006.

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