- Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Anthony Joshua are the money men in combat sports.
- That is according to Forbes’ latest ranking of the 100 best-paid athletes in the last 12 months.
- Floyd Mayweather is no longer on the list as the unbeaten American retired from the game after beating up Conor McGregor in 2017.
- McGregor remains on the list, and is joined by Deontay Wilder and Gennady Golovkin.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Forbes list for highest-earning athletes is back for another year, and there are six fighters who grace the 100-strong ranking for the last 12 months.
Floyd Mayweather, who has long been seen as the money man of the sport, is no longer there as the unbeaten American retired from the game despite a bizarre unofficial exhibition in Japan this year, which earned him $US9 million.
Though Mayweather has gone, the sport has moved on and the new money men in combat sports include two hard-hitting heavyweights, two technically-adept middleweights, a UFC fighter, and a veteran of the game who continues to seek out the toughest of challenges.
Without further ado, here are the six best-paid fighters from the last 12 months, ranked in ascending order.
6: Middleweight boxing contender Gennady Golovkin made $US25.5 million.
A 41-fight veteran, Gennady Golovkin, 37, has 35 knockouts from 39 wins against one loss and one draw.
The only blemishes on his record are to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, and it is likely a third fight will be booked in an attempt to conclude their gripping middleweight rivalry.
Golovkin has endorsement deals with Nike’s Jordan brand, Hublot, and Tecate, according to Forbes.
He also signed a six-fight deal with DAZN, a streaming service seen as the Netflix of sports, which is worth $US100 million, Forbes says.
5: Welterweight boxing champion Manny Pacquiao made $US26 million.
Even at 40 years old, Manny Pacquiao remains competitive at the elite level in world boxing.
He stopped Lucas Matthysse in July, last year, romped to a big win over Adrien Broner in January, and now takes on the undefeated Keit Thurman this summer.
Pacquiao has fought 70 times as a pro fighter, appearing on pay-per-view an extraordinary 24 times. This has generated 20 million sales, or $US1.25 billion, Forbes reports.
4: Heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder made $US30.5 million.
Deontay Wilder is one of the key reasons heavyweight boxing is experiencing a renaissance in the American market.
He has poor technique, but his power is so extraordinary it seems no man can escape a mid-fight clobbering at some point.
Wilder fought the unbeaten British fighter Tyson Fury in December, last year, and earned more than $US10 million.
He recently vanquished Dominic Breazeale after attracting criticism for his controversial kill comments, and has rematches lined up against Luis Ortiz and Fury.
3: Lightweight mixed martial arts contender Conor McGregor made $US47 million.
Conor McGregor is known around the world as a mixed martial artist, but Forbes says he is making an increasing amount of cash from his sponsorship deals and his whiskey business.
The Irishman is one of the fight game’s most captivating characters because of his merciless trash talk, his showboating in the cage, and his concussive punching.
Last October, he returned to the Octagon for the first time in almost two years but was convincingly beaten by lightweight rival Khabib Nurmagomedov. He reportedly earned a guaranteed $US3 million, according to Forbes, with an extra $US30 million generated because of the event’s popularity at the box office.
McGregor’s whiskey brand, Proper no. Twelve, is proving a hit with consumers. His business partner Ken Austin told Business Insider that the company had sold around 200,000 cases. There are even plans to create more expressions as it looks to rival Jameson’s as the most popular Irish whiskey on the market.
2: Heavyweight boxing contender Anthony Joshua made $US55 million.
With his hulking physique, chiselled abdominals, and million dollar smile, Anthony Joshua is a blue-chip sponsor’s dream.
He has deals with many big-name companies including Under Armour, Jaguar LandRover, and Beats by Dre.
Joshua was a silver medalist at the World Amateur Championships in 2011, a gold medal winner at the 2012 Olympic Games, and the unified heavyweight boxing champion until earlier this month when he was upset in the seventh round of an up-and-down barnburner with Andy Ruiz Jr.
Joshua and Ruiz Jr. are expected to fight again later this year.
1: Middleweight boxing champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez made $US94 million.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, a technically-gifted Mexican boxer, has regularly featured in the best-selling pay-per-view fights of all time.
His popularity is what convinced the market-disrupting streaming service DAZN to pay $US365 million for 11 of Alvarez’s bouts, the first of which was an easy knockout win over Rocky Fielding, before a decision victory over Daniel Jacobs, last month.
Alvarez has a two-fight rivalry with hard-hitting middleweight Gennady Golovkin, with one win and one draw over the Kazakh puncher. It is likely a third fight will be booked soon.
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