Do Boxers Get Paid More Than Footballers?

Floyd Mayweather’s Instagram is an assemblage of cars, money, and watches. A never-ending catalog of luxurious goods. A testament to the American dream. While Floyd is the face of this lifestyle, it could be easy to assume that most professional boxers live a similarly lavish lifestyle. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. The vast majority of professional boxers have very little, especially in comparison to footballers.

The following figures contextualize the pay discrepancy. According to Sports Brief, an average professional boxer will make roughly $64,000 per year assuming they have 8 fights roughly generating 8000 dollars. However, for many new boxers, the figure is far less, making a few hundred dollars per fight and barely bringing home a couple thousand dollars over a year.

In comparison, championship players make over $250,000 per year according to the Professional Footballer Scouts Association. Premier League players on average will get paid just shy of $4,000,000. Only the lowest division players will get paid roughly $1000 per week. Put simply, the pay on average is worlds apart.

Why Boxer’s Don’t Make Much

Since boxing isn’t a team sport, its up to the individuals to generate interest in themselves. There are generally three ways to go about this. Either have great management who knows what fights to book to push you into the spotlight.

Alternatively, you could reach superstardom by simply being a fantastic professional boxer who demolishes every opponent at every opportunity, creating intrigue. Lastly, you can talk your way into the big bucks in boxing. Being outspoken and brash often leads to boxing fans loving or loathing you. This means that everyone will tune in to see you regardless of the outcome.

However, the issue with all of these methods is that they are all incredibly difficult. Most of them require money, connections, or luck. Sometimes all three are required for a fighter to even have a chance in the professional boxing world.

Essentially, if you can’t sell tickets, you’ll make very little money. This is fundamentally what makes the boxing pay structure so different from football. In football, there are many more people involved. This also means that you don’t have to bring a huge following to begin with. The teams already have viewership so getting your foot in the door means you’ll make money.

Why Elite Boxing Superstars Make Millions

Now that we’ve established that the vast majority of boxers don’t make very good money, we can look at the elite fighters. The cream of the crop. Boxers get paid tens of millions per fight because of how much money they generate. Once you reach the upper echelons of boxing, you can make silly money because of how the business is structured.

There is your promoter, trainer, and some other forms of management that need a slice of the pie. However, generally, a lot of the money that is generated from tickets and PPV buys goes to the fighters. Not having so many different factors inside a system means that the fighters can keep a larger proportion of the earnings. So while the net figures may not be as great as those in football, the margin for fighters in comparison to players is much larger as the money does not have to be split across so many people.

To contextualize this, Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Conor McGregor reportedly generated roughly $600 million of which roughly $280 million went to Floyd and $130 million went to McGregor. If these figures are accurate, that means an alleged $410 million went to the fighters out of the total $600 million generated from the bout. McGregor, an MMA fighter, showed how clever promotion and superstardom can generate huge amounts of money despite never having boxed professionally in his life.

Highest Paid Boxers vs Highest Paid Footballers

When you compare the highest-earning athletes in boxing with the highest-earning athletes in football, there doesn’t seem to be such a huge disparity. This is more than likely the reason why people often are under the assumption that boxers make massive amounts of money. However, in reality, most boxers don’t make very much money at all whereas most footballers still make very good money.

NameEstimated Net Worth
Floyd Mayweather Jr$1,000,000,000
Manny Pacquio $600,000,000
Canelo Alvarez$500,000,000
Oscar De La Hoya$450,000,000
Mike Tyson$400,000,000
Evander Holyfield$300,000,000
Anthony Joshua$170,000,000
Tyson Fury $150,000,000
Lennox Lewis$140,000,000
Ray Leonard$120,000,000
NameEstimated Net Worth
Faiq Bolkiah$20,000,000,000
Lionel Messi$600,000,000
Cristiano Ronaldo$500,000,000
David Beckham$450,000,000
Dave Whelan$210,000,000
Neymar Jr.$200,000,000
Zlatan Ibrahimovic$190,000,000
Kylian Mbappe$180,000,000
Wayne Rooney$170,000,000
Ronaldo Luis Nazario$160,000,000

Boxing vs Football: Which Is A Better Career?

Let’s first assume that you’re good enough to be a good professional boxer or footballer which would be a very rare instance but let’s accept it for the sake of the argument. In such a situation, it would almost always be objectively better to pursue football. You’ll sustain fewer injuries, make more money, and will probably play at the highest level for longer. There is no real tangible reason for someone in such as position to choose boxing over football.

So unless it was your passion or you were a generational boxing prodigy, it wouldn’t be the most sensible career option to choose boxing over football.


While the highest-paid footballers and boxers are roughly on par when it comes to pay, this doesn’t reflect the averages for both sports. On average, boxers are paid far less than footballers. This is due to the nature of the sports and how they function financially.

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