by Charles Jay
According to recently-released information supplied by ESPN The Magazine’s Money Issue “Salary Survey Project,” Floyd Mayweather was the highest-earning athlete in the United States in 2011, grossing an estimated $40 million, which came from one place: his September WBC championship fight against Victor Ortiz.
But he’s been one-upped by the man he may never fight, Manny Pacquiao.
ESPN, in cooperation with SportingIntelligence.com, compiled a list of the top earners from 200 different countries, and measured their earnings against the per capita Gross Domestic Product in those countries. The survey itself did not include endorsements or other ancillary income; only that which was directly generated by performing in the athletes’ respective fields of endeavor. That, of course, means Floyd’s winning basketball bets don’t count.
Mayweather’s figure was matched by Formula I racer Fernando Alonso, who was listed as the leading money-earner from Spain, at $40 million.
But both were surpassed by Manny Pacquiao, whose fights against Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley earned him an estimated $50 million, which, needless to say, is highest among athletes in the Philippines, and should make tax agents there, who are still chasing him down for verification of 2010 income, very interested. Pac-Watchers would also be interested to know that he was the highest-earning athlete listed in the ESPN survey; and it’s been a big week for him, one supposes, as he also retained his title as the richest elected legislator in the Philippines (no big surprise).
If you want to have a little fun by breaking things down by the minute (of actual in-ring performance), Mayweather, who knocked out Victor Ortiz in four rounds last September 17, the numbers come out to $3.3 million per minute.
For Pacquiao, who went the distance in those fights against Marquez and Mosley, the figure is a little over $694,400 per minute.
So you could say fans may have gotten more “bang” for their buck with PacMan.
Mayweather tackles Miguel Angel Cotto on May 5 in Las Vegas, and also plans to have another fight by the end of the year. Pacquiao has a June 9 date with Timothy Bradley, and the schedule for the rest of the year is in doubt, so perhaps Floyd may have a chance to overtake Pacquiao when this survey is done for 2012.
As far as other boxers in the survey, former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye was listed as the leader in England, at just over $24 million; undefeated Chris John, who has been a WBA champion in the featherweight class since 2003, topped all athletes in Indonesia (where the per capita GDP is $2949) at $1 million, as he fought twice at home during 2011. By the minute, he was an absolute bargain, at just under $14,000.
Undefeated IBF super middleweight champion Lucien Bute, who does most of his fighting in Canada, was the top earner from Romania ($5.23 million) on the basis of three fights, one of which was a return to Bucharest against Jean-Paul Mendy; and finally, Wladimir Klitschko tops the list in the Ukraine, as the ESPN survey indicated that he and Haye earned equal money for their July 2 bout, in which Klitschko annexed Haye’s belt.
Another fighter may join these ranks of national leaders when ESPN The Magazine gets around to doing its Money Issue next year. Puerto Rico isn’t a separate country, but it was included in the survey anyway. Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals, who played for the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants last season, was listed as the #1 earner in 2011 from there, with $13 million in salary. But Cotto, who is the 154-pound champion heading into Saturday’s bout in Las Vegas, is getting a good head start on being the winner in next year’s survey, as he has indicated he might be expecting as much as $30 million when all the pay-per-view receipts are counted from the upcoming event at the MGM Grand.