Biggest Boxing Purses: The 10 Highest Paid Boxing Fights in History



Over the years many boxing fights have gone down in history for the insane amount of revenue earned from them. The boxing purse in these matches were absolutely shocking, to say the least. In this article, we dive into the 10 biggest boxing purses in history.

It’s safe to say boxing is one of the most beloved sports to exist in this world. Being such a popular sport, there are lots of boxers who are highly regarded for their skills and have a loyal fanbase. Without a doubt, these fighter’s boxing careers are their main source of income. But how much does boxing pay? It all depends on the purse. 

What is a purse in boxing? A boxing purse is the payout or total income that a boxer makes from a boxing fight. This purse consists of a contractually set amount which was agreed on beforehand, plus an additional prize, which is generally a certain percentage of the revenue earned after the match. 

How big can boxing purses get? Read on to find out, as we look at the highest paid boxing fights in history. 

Biggest Boxing Purses in History

Some boxing fights in history were so interesting and highly anticipated that fans flocked to watch them, paying for the PPV. This resulted in certain boxing fights collecting enormous amounts of revenue. Here are the 10 biggest boxing purses in history:

10. Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder – Third Fight

One of the longest-standing rivalries in boxing history is the one between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. The rivalry was finally put to an end with their third fight against each other in 2021. The showdown between the two was very exciting and electrifying, with each displaying their skills to the fullest. 

The match ended with Tyson “Gypsy King” Fury securing an amazing 11th-round knockout over his opponent, becoming one of the standout matches of 2021. Both of the fighters earned a lot from the bout, but of course, the winner, Tyson “Gypsy King” Fury got the higher cut at a whopping $28 million. 

9. Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield – Rematch

biggest boxing purse

One of the craziest rivalries in the history of boxing is the one between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. The two-fight series from 1996-1997 was legendary, pulling in a huge amount of PPV sales. In the first fight, Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield knocked Iron Mike out cold, but the rematch in the following year was shocking.

Despite taking the “L” and losing against Holyfield, Mike “Iron Mike” Tyson did something unthinkable, getting himself disqualified in the third round and suspended for a while. He took a big bite out of Holyfield’s ear, pulling a whole chunk off. Holyfield won and ended up walking away with $35 million while Tyson took home $30 million, which wasn’t too bad. 

8. Canelo Alvarez vs Sergey Kovalev

In the WBO Light Heavyweight Championship, this was one of the highest paid boxing fight in history of the event. The event took place in 2019 at the MGM Garden in Paradise, Nevada. This was around the time when Canelo Alvarez had just signed with the DAZN and was looking to secure his name in history as a three-weight champion. 

As a result of that, he ended up going against Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev in the 11th round and crushed the Krusher with a knockout win. From that fight, Canelo Alvarez ended up walking away with $35 million before factoring in the PPV sales from the fight making history. 

7. Canelo Alvarez vs Gennadiy Golovkin – Third Fight

While this was one of the highest paid boxing fight in history, it was less than exciting and just a lame tune-up. The third fight between Canelo Alvarez and the aging Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin took place in 2022. The match was very anti-climatic, ending in Canelo Alvarez winning by a lopsided unanimous decision. 

It was disappointing even though Canelo Alvarez absolutely dominated the slow Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin. However, the good thing about the fight was that Canelo Alvarez walked home with a whopping $45 million, which was incredible because he denied a light-heavyweight rematch to take on this third match.

6. Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou

Despite not being that hyped up of a match in the starting, this fight between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou went down in history for all the right reasons. The fight took place in Saudi Arabia and it was the first professional fight that Francis Ngannou ever played, that too against Tyson Fury himself!

The match ended with Francis Ngannou winning by a split decision, which was incredible and almost made this fight one of the biggest upsets from Tyson Fury in boxing history. However, we could not mourn too much for Tyson Fury, because he walked home with $50 million from the fight, despite taking a huge “L”!

5. Oscar De La Hoya vs Floyd Mayweather

This fight was one of the biggest bouts in boxing history. The fight famously took place between Oscar De La “Golden Boy” Hoya and Floyd “Pretty Boy” Mayweather. It took place in 2007 and nearly turned out to be the only loss in the boxing career of our “Pretty Boy.” 

In the end, Floyd Mayweather scraped up the win by a split decision, which was very close! Mayweather walked away from the fight with $25 million but Oscar De La “Golden Boy” Hoya set the then-record for the highest paid boxing fight in history. The “Golden Boy” Hoya walked home with a whopping $52 million, though the record did not last long.

4. Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz – Second Fight

After losing the first match to Andy Ruiz in New York in June 2019, talks for a rematch were already heard and it turned out to be true. On the first night in Saudi Arabia for Anthony Joshua, he got to exact his revenge on Andy Ruiz. The long fight ended with Anthony Joshua taking the win after the timer for the last round ran out.

Not only did Anthony Joshua let his hunger consume him and exact revenge on Andy Ruiz, but he also earned a hefty paycheck from it. Anthony Joshua ended up taking away $60 million from the fight, making it a career-high boxing purse for him.

3. Floyd Mayweather vs Canelo Alvarez

If we talk about a real boxing fight, this fight that took place between our beloved Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez was extremely disappointing. It took place on September 14, 2013 and it was said that Oscar De La Hoya thought Canelo Alvarez was the perfect opponent for Mayweather. 

The bout did not last long, with Mayweather winning every single bout and dominating Canelo Alvarez. Mayweather pulled out all of his defensive prowess while Alvarez did his best as a youngster. It was an easy night for Floyd “Money” Mayweather and the paycheck was huge, racking up a whopping $80 million from it making it one of the highest paid boxing purses in history.

2. Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather

Another Floyd “Money” Mayweather fight! Are we surprised? Absolutely not, because this was not even the biggest fight of Mayweather’s career. The fight took place in 2015 between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, after fans had been waiting for the two to fight for years. In the end, it turned out to be a sub-par and okay bout.

A whopping 4.6 million fans tuned in on pay-per-view for the long-awaited welterweight championship clash in Las Vegas. Despite clinching a decision victory at the MGM Grand, Mayweather's welterweight title defense left fans wanting more. Mayweather would return for two more fights, one a retirement bout, the other a lucrative exhibition with McGregor.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather won the bout by decision while Manny Pacquiao took the “L” like a complete champ. In the end, Manny Pacquiao walked away from the fight with a whopping $150 million from the “Fight of the Century”. But, of course, Mayweather walked away with a lot more, $100 million more than his opponent.

After their bout, Pacquiao left boxing for a full-time career in politics. He was a candidate in the 2022 presidential election in the Philippines. Mayweather, meanwhile, stays in the limelight with exhibition matches that rake in substantial earnings. Though discussions about a rematch in exhibition formats have surfaced, it seems unlikely at the moment.

1. Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor

Now, for the highest paid boxing fight in history, it is none other than the legendary fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. “The Money Fight” was a complete cash grab taking place in T-Mobile Arena, Paradise on August 26, 2017, as we all know, with the worldwide press tour and lots of press generating traction for it. Though, it did pay off a ton!

Few matches have rivaled the media frenzy surrounding Mayweather and McGregor's showdown in the summer of 2017. Back then, McGregor, reigning as the two-division UFC champion, carried an aura of invincibility despite his prior loss to Nate Diaz.

Mayweather's camp, alongside UFC president Dana White, centred the promotion of the fight around the idea that McGregor, a retired amateur boxer, could challenge the legendary Mayweather. This hyped narrative, coupled with rampant illegal streaming, propelled the 2017 fight to over 4.3 million pay-per-view buys, generating a massive revenue stream.

The fight was not a real fight with more of an exhibition type of vibe where Floyd “Money” Mayweather took the win against Conor “The Notorious” McGregor. Mayweather took the brunt of McGregor’s hits in the first few rounds before showing his prowess, even at the age of 40, in the last few rounds. In the end, Mayweather walked away with a massive boxing purse of $280 million, the highest-paid ever in history, while McGregor walked away with $130 million.

Needless to say, boxing purses will continue to increase in the coming years as more spectacular boxers will emerge. More matches like the highest paid boxing fight in history between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor will take place and the revenue will increase. There will also be fights where the winners are underpaid despite their valiant efforts, like the honorable mention of the fight between Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin. 

Bren Gray is our resident Kiwi, and has been writing about sports since he could first string words together. He first fell in love with boxing when David Tua took on Lennox Lewis in 2000, and hasn't looked back since.