Boxing might be dead or dying, but the two highest paid athletes in the world, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, are boxers. That’s PPV for you. It’s enough to put fighters who fight twice a year over the biggest names in global sports from the NBA, soccer, Golf and Tennis. Tiger Woods, after a decade of reigning the money list, has slipped away from the top spot.
Number 10 – Peyton Manning
Not taking a single snap behind center didn’t stop Peyton Manning from being the highest paid NFL player over the last 12 months, leaving the Indianapolis Colts for the Denver Broncos. He made $32.4 million from his salaries (26 from Colts + 6 million bonus from the Broncos) while adding $10 million from his endorsement deals with Rebook and Sony among others.
Number 9 – Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo is the most followed athlete in the world on facebook and he also enjoys the highest salary in the world among soccer players, with over $20 million a year for his services to Real Madrid. He earns $22 million outside the sport from companies such as Nike, Castrol and Konami, earning $42.5 million a year.
Number 8 – David Beckham
Playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy since 2007, Beckham remains the highest paid soccer player in the world thanks to his off-the-pitch appeal. He makes $9 million a year from the team, but his off-the-pitch earning brings the total to $46 million over the last 12 months, enjoying the payment from Burger King, Sainsbury’s, Samsung and H&M, to name a few.
Number 7 – Phil Mickelson
Mickelson hasn’t been tearing up the Greens over the last year, winning only two titles in 2011 and 2012 so far, without any Majors coming his way. Still, despite making ‘only’ $4.8 million in prize money, Mickelson’s endorsements with Callaway, Barclay’s, KPMG, Exxon, Rolex, and Amgen/Pfizer bring his total earnings to $47.8 million.
Number 6 – Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant has the biggest salary in the NBA, receiving $20.3 million from the Lakers, with his salary reduced by 20% due to the NBA lockout. Bryant earned a further $32 million from endorsements, taking his total to $52.3 million.
Number 5 – Roger Federer
No longer the number one player in the world (currently ranked third), Roger Federer hasn’t won any Grand Slam titles since 2010, but he’s still winning big tennis tournaments, including the Masters at Indian Wells, the Madrid Masters and the Year End’s tourney in London, giving him $7.7 million from the sport. He made $52.7 in total thanks to his deals with Nike, Rolex, Wilson and Credit Suisse.
Number 4 – LeBron James
Currently playing in his second consecutive NBA Finals with the Miami Heat, LeBron James made $13 million from his basketball activities this year, totalling at $53 million with his endorsement money Nike, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and State Farm.
Number 3 – Tiger Woods
Still waiting for his first Majors win since 2008, but Tiger Woods seems to be slowly regaining his form, winning two big tournaments in 2012. Not enough to keep him as the highest paid athlete in the world, something he managed to do each year since 2001. He has made $4.4 million from Golf, but his sponsors income is down to a mere $55 million, most of it from Nike while many others didn’t renew their contracts with him.
Number 2 – Manny Pacquiao
The second highest paid boxer in the world, Manny Pacquiao is far more than just an athlete, especially in his home country of the Philippines, where he’s also a politician and probably the country’s most famous persona. He lost for the first time since 2005 recently in a highly controversial decision against Timothy Bradley. A PPV juggernaut, Pacquiao has made $56 million from his fights in the last year (Marquez, Bradley) and an additional $6 million from sponsors like Nike and HP.
Number 1 – Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather is as hated by many as he is loved and appreciated for his boxing skills by others. Always a controversial individual with a big mouth, Mayweather is currently serving time in prison, but even that won’t stop him from being the biggest draw in the fading sport of boxing. Being a self-promoted business, Mayweather earned $85 million from his fights with Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto, not needing any sponsors to bolster his fat bank account.