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The Most Expensive Fights in Boxing History

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The Most Expensive Fights in Boxing History

High-level boxing is easily one of the most exciting sports to follow, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that that it’s also one of the highest-paying sports. World-renowned professional boxers make enormous money, and so do the sport's top broadcasters. If you’re interested in how much money these massive fights cost, here’s the list of the five most expensive fights in boxing history.

#5 Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson (1997)

The fifth most expensive fight in boxing history was held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It was the second time Evander Holyfield faced Mike Tyson. The first was in 1996, and Holyfield won that time. He won the rematch as well after Tyson was disqualified for biting his opponent's ear.

The fight grossed over £11 million at the gate and £81 from PPV. Together with Holyfied's and Tyson's prizes, it exceeded £145 million.

#4 Floyd Mayweather vs. Oscar De La Hoya

The next three fights on this list all feature Floyd Mayweather, who is number one among the richest boxers in the world. Mayweather faced Oscar De La Hoya at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in May 2007. At the time, Mayweather was the underdog. It was this fight that put him on everyone's radar after he won and earned the WBC super welterweight title. Counting the gate proceeds, PPV, and Mayweather's and De La Hoya's purses, the fight totaled £187 million.

#3 Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez

The fight between Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez in September 2013 was yet another win for Mayweather. Unsurprisingly, it also took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. It was one of Mayweather's most spectacular wins, and it made him about £60 million (against Alvarez's modest £10 million). Together with the gate proceeds (£20 million) and PPV (£120 million), the fight totaled more than £214 million.

#2 Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor

The second most expensive fight ever happened between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. This comes as no surprise, seeing as both were already huge names in boxing by August 2017, when the fight took place.

The poster helped them sell more activations. Mayweather's type is white, Conor's is black, plenty of subconscious momentum was created when the Irishman used some racially degrading terms during the PR hype tour.

It was one of the most anticipated fights in history. Mayweather defeated McGregor and made a record-breaking £223.5 million. Gate proceeds were £44 million, and PPV were £325 million. Overall, the fight totaled over £662 million.

#1 Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao

Finally, the top position on this list belongs to the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao held in May 2015 in Paradise, Nevada. By 2015, Mayweather and Pacquiao had been planning to face one another for over five years.

So, needless to say, boxing fans were thrilled to finally see their fight. Sadly, most critics agree that Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao (2015) was a bit of a disappointment. Nonetheless, with Mayweather's £223.5 million, Pacquiao's £122 million, about £58 million from the gate, and £333 million from PPV, the fight totaled £678 million and earned the title of the most expensive one in boxing history.

Why Is Boxing Such a Massive Money Maker?

Aside from the money made from views (which is a lot in itself), boxing is also big among sports bettors. Along with the casino providers that accept US dollars, betting sites offer easy and fun entertainment that can be enjoyed anywhere, even without a need for users to leave their houses. And having real money on the line makes these boxing bouta an even more captivating spectating experience than it already was.

As to the tickets and PPV (pay-per-view), boxing is indeed on the more expensive side. To compare, you can get a decent ticket to an NBA game for about $200 but should be ready to pay $400 and more if you want to attend a high-level boxing fight with a decent seat. Even watching online isn't really an affordable solution, with many PPV cards ranging from anywhere between $50-70.

But Isn't Boxing Dead?

Despite the common assertion being that “boxing is dead”, there have been recent fights that nearly made this list, which prove that boxing is alive and well.

In fact, a fight between Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Ryan Garcia in April 2023 reportedly did 1,205,000 PPB buys, and earned over $102 million. It was a gigantic fight between two proved Pay Per View draws that did not disappoint.

And that doesn't even mention the boxing revolution that is taking place in Saudi Arabia. The country is doing everything in its power to become the global capital of boxing, and has put on some incredible fights in the past year alone.

As Saudi Arabia continues to dump exorbitant amount of money into this sport, the world's best boxers will continue to make massive paydays — which will bring young fighters into the sport.

In other words, boxing is far from dead. And it might be better than it has been in a long, long time.