How Much do Boxers Make?

a boxer in the ring

How much do boxers make? It’s a question that many people ask but one that can be very difficult to answer. That’s because the range of earnings from a journeyman boxer to a superstar is vast. Trying to work out what a pro boxer will make isn’t easy.

But here, we’ll try our best to help you see why boxers get paid, how they get paid, and what money you’re likely to receive if you go pro. Let’s start by looking at the possible payment ranges for a professional boxer.

How Much Do Boxers Make?

A journeyman boxer is one that is used as an opponent for fighters who are just starting out in their careers. These boxers usually have far more losses on their records than wins. Boxers such as Kristian Laight are good examples of this, but there are thousands more out there.

A boxer at the beginning of their career may earn less than $1,000 for a fight, and they may be responsible for promoting their own fights unless they are fighting a young opponent that has a promotional team behind them.

You may think that sounds like reasonable money, but you also need to factor in that they need to pay for somewhere to train, a trainer, cornermen, and equipment, among other costs. All of those costs can quickly eat into their funds.

This means that lower-level boxers need to fight many times per year. With our example of Kristian Laight above, he fought 22 times in 2015. This is in stark contrast with superstars who often barely fight once per year.

All of this means that the average salary of professional boxers is around $40,000, but that is a rough estimate. When you take out the boxing stars who earn millions, this means that most boxers will earn well below this figure.

As with many sports, this makes it very difficult to earn a living unless you’re a highly skilled boxer. Even then, it can be a struggle if you can’t find the right promotional support.

The biggest purse in boxing history goes to Floyd Mayweather, who earned approximately $250-270m for his fights against Manny Pacquiao and Conor McGregor.

However, even most boxing stars can only dream of earning that much. For example, Tyson Fury’s recent fight against Derek Chisora earned him around $25m, whereas Chisora himself earned around $3.8m from the purse.

How Much Do Pro Boxers Get Paid Per Fight?

It’s almost impossible to say exactly how much do boxers get paid per fight. It’s not like baseball or football, where they have a set amount they’ll earn, which is almost guaranteed. Boxers only get paid when they fight, and how much they earn can vary wildly.

Let’s take a look at an example of a top-class fighter in Oleksandr Usyk. Back in 2016, he fought against Krzysztof Glowacki and earned $50k. This was for the WBO World Cruiserweight title, which shows how little boxers can earn for title fights.

In 2018 when he fought Mairis Briedis, those earnings quadrupled to $200k, and when he fought Murat Gassiev in the same year, they doubled to $400k. These payments reflected his rise in reputation, as his fights were shown to wider audiences.

His fight after that was against Tony Bellew, who had a big promotional team behind him. For this fight, his earnings jumped to $1m, and then to $1.5m vs. Chazz Witherspoon, and $2.5m vs. Derek Chisora.

Then came his two fights with Anthony Joshua, which made him into a superstar. In the first fight, he got paid $4.2m. If you think that was a lot, after his victory, he earned $75m for the rematch.

Hopefully, this gives you an idea of how much payments per fight can change from one fight to the next, even for the same fighter. The amount they will receive is heavily dependent on their reputation and expected ticket/PPV sales.

It’s worth noting above that Usyk got paid $50k for a world title fight. Most fights are nowhere near this level. For a decent pro boxer making their way, payments in the $5k to $10k range would be common.

How Do Professional Boxers Make Money?

How boxers make their money will depend on their reputation, skill level, and what they are fighting for. In general, there are four main ways that a boxer can make money.

Purse or Fee – For big fights, it’s common for promotors to make a purse bid to get the right to stage the fight. This purse bid will then be divided between the fighters in a pre-agreed split. For example, for the Tyson Fury – Dillian Whyte fight, Queensberry Promotions’ purse bid was $41 million.

Of that purse bid, 80% went to Fury, and 20% went to Whyte, as Fury has a much bigger reputation. However, there are other times when boxers will be paid a straight-up fee for their boxing services. This is much more common in lower-level boxing fights.

PPV and Ticket Share – Another way that boxers will make money is through a share of the pay-per-view (PPV) revenue for the fight. Often they’ll have their fee for the fight, and on top of that, they’ll agree to a share of the PPV intake.

At lower level fights, it’s more common to get a share of the ticket sale profit as these fights won’t be shown on TV, let alone PPV. It is possible for an elite-level boxer to get a purse fee, a PPV share, and a share of the ticket sales.

Endorsements – Once a boxer has a big reputation, then they can also start advertising for brands. You’ll get adverts such as this one from Anthony Joshua and boxers promoting products such as Tyson Fury’s energy drink.

Perhaps the most infamous boxing endorsement of all time is the George Foreman Grill, which he put his name to in the mid-90s. The grill helped to earn Foreman far more than he ever did from his boxing career.

Merchandise – Once a boxer gets to a certain reputation level, they can start selling merchandise to their adoring fans. This often isn’t a huge source of their income, but it can be lucrative if they partner up with another brand.

Top 10 Highest Paid Professional Boxers in History

We’ve mentioned how the biggest stars can get huge sums of money, but who are the 10 highest paid professional boxers in history?

10. Wladimir Klitschko

Nationality: Ukrainian

Weight Division: Heavyweight

Career Earnings: $110m

Highest Fight Earnings: $13m vs. Anthony Joshua

You’ll see a common theme for many of the fighters on this list, as most of them are heavyweights. Seen as the glamour division, it’s often the weight category that gets the most attention. It’s a division that Klitschko dominated for a long time.

With English not being his first language and not being the most charismatic of characters, he perhaps wasn’t as big a draw as he should have been. That being said, his longevity and dominance of the division puts him in the top 10 earners ever.

9. Lennox Lewis

Nationality: English/Canadian

Weight Division: Heavyweight

Career Earnings: $140m

Highest Fight Earnings: $17.5m vs. Mike Tyson

Born in London but growing up in Canada, Lewis made a name for himself by winning gold for Canada in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. As a professional, he switched his allegiance to Britain and became of the best heavyweights of all time.

He had a great career, and his biggest payday came against Mike Tyson in 2002. After that mega fight, he only fought once again, beating Wladimir’s brother Vitali in 2003. It left him with reported career earnings of approximately $140m.

8. Tyson Fury

Nationality: English

Weight Division: Heavyweight

Career Earnings: $200m

Highest Fight Earnings: $34m vs. Dillian Whyte

Tyson Fury is one of several men who will move up this list in the future. He can now command ever-increasing payments for his fights. With the potential super fights he has down the road, he could quickly build on the $200m he has earned so far.

In fact, he would already be much higher up on this list if he hadn’t taken a mental health break in between 2015 and 2018. But now he’s become a top earner, and a potential fight against Anthony Joshua could command incredible sums of money.

7. Anthony Joshua

Nationality: English

Weight Division: Heavyweight

Career Earnings: $220m

Highest Fight Earnings: $75m vs Oleksandr Usyk

Talking of Anthony Joshua, he comes in at number seven on our list. Like Fury, he’s now in a position where he can demand huge money for his fights. His recent loss against Oleksandr Usyk was still the biggest payday of his career.

That’s because he still remains hugely popular, and he has an army of fans who are happy to pay PPV prices to watch him. At the age of 33, he still has plenty of years to more than double what he’s already earned from boxing.

6. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez

Nationality: Mexican

Weight Division: Super Middle

Career Earnings: $250m

Highest Fight Earnings: $53m vs. Dmitry Bivol

Seven of the ten boxers on this list speak native English. It’s obvious that English-speaking fighters are more appealing to fans in Britain and America, where the big money is. However, some fighters come along and are just too good to be held back by a language barrier.

One such man is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. After the likes of Mayweather, Pacquiao, and De La Hoya declined, he emerged as a bona fide superstar. He’s an incredible PPV draw and will quickly add to his boxing wealth.

5. Evander Holyfield

Nationality: American

Weight Division: Heavyweight

Career Earnings: $300m

Highest Fight Earnings: $35m vs. Mike Tyson

Evander Holyfield is another heavyweight boxer that had a hugely successful career. His professional career started in 1984, and it spanned all the way to 2011. However, his most memorable fights came in 1996 and 1997.

In those years, he fought Mike Tyson twice. The first bout he won by TKO, but the second was one of the most infamous fights ever when Tyson bit off a part of his ear. Holyfield was awarded the win by disqualification, and it happened to be the biggest payday of his career.

4. Mike Tyson

Nationality: American

Weight Division: Heavyweight

Career Earnings: $375m

Highest Fight Earnings: $30m vs. Evander Holyfield

Mike Tyson was the definition of box office. Everyone wanted to watch his fights. If a fighter as destructive as Tyson was around today, it wouldn’t take long for them to get to the top of this list. However, Tyson’s personal problems stopped him from earning as much as he should have.

As with Holyfield, his biggest payday was in their rematch. Tyson was never quite the same after that, and after squandering all of his wealth, he filed for bankruptcy in 2003. With endorsements, acting roles, and exhibition fights, his estimated net worth now is estimated to be $10 million.

3. Manny Pacquiao

Nationality: Filipino

Weight Division: Welterweight

Career Earnings: $500m

Highest Fight Earnings: $150m vs. Floyd Mayweather

We mentioned earlier that most of the fighters on this list spoke native English, which makes Pacquiao being at number three even more impressive. He retired in 2021 in what was the 72nd fight of a remarkable career.

What made Pacquiao’s career so lucrative was how often he fought fellow boxing superstars. 23 of his bouts were against fighters that BoxRec rated at five stars. He was never afraid to shirk a challenge, and the fans loved him for it.

2. Oscar De La Hoya

Nationality: American

Weight Division: Welterweight

Career Earnings: $700m

Highest Fight Earnings: $50m vs. Floyd Mayweather

Our top three boxers benefitted from an era when there were a lot of big names around for them to compete against. De La Hoya had many brilliant fights, with the last of his 45 bouts being a loss to Manny Pacquiao.

His nickname of ‘Golden Boy’ hints at his huge popularity, as he was loved by the American public. As with Pacquiao, his biggest payday came against Floyd Mayweather when he lost by a split decision in 2007. However, the fight still earned him an impressive $50m.

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Nationality: American

Weight Division: Welterweight

Career Earnings: $1.1bn

Highest Fight Earnings: $270m vs. Manny Pacquiao

When it came to marketing themselves, no one has ever done it better than Floyd Mayweather Jr. His fights generated huge publicity, and he even earned over $200m in what has a glorified exhibition bout against Conor McGregor.

The biggest of his paydays came against Pacquiao when he reportedly earned an incredible $270m, which is a lot more than some boxers on this list earned in their careers. He carefully managed his career and ended with a perfect record of 50-0, and over one billion dollars in earnings.


Can boxers make millions?

As you’ve seen from this list, the answer is a resounding yes. However, for the vast majority of boxers, earning millions is way out of reach. Most boxers struggle to earn enough money to have a full-time career in the sport.

Who Is highest paid boxer?

The most highly paid boxer of all time is Floyd Mayweather Jr, who has reportedly earned over a billion dollars. With Mayweather retired, the highest paid active boxer would most likely be either Anthony Joshua, Canelo Alvarez, or Tyson Fury.

Is boxing a good career?

Only for those who can get to at least national level. However, that level is out of reach for most people. This is the same as asking if football, soccer, or baseball, etc. are good careers. They are for those that can reach the higher levels of the sport.

Is boxing a rich sport?

You’d have to say, yes, it is at the top level. As we’ve referred to however, many boxing fights are fought in bars, gymnasiums, and function rooms, well away from the big lights of arenas and stadiums.

Do losers in boxing get paid?

Yes, they do. The splits are determined before the fight. A boxer may get a bonus for winning or a higher percentage of the cut, but the loser will still get paid.

How much do heavyweight boxers make?

On average, heavyweight boxers make a little more than other weight classes. That’s because people pay more to see heavyweights due to their size and power. Most of the highest paid boxers ever are heavyweights.

What is an Olympic boxer’s salary?

That will change from one country to the next, but it’s similar to professional boxers. There are many boxers, such as three-time gold medalist Félix Savón, who never turned professional as it was better to be an Olympic athlete and national idol.

How much do boxers earn a year?

The average pro boxer salary is around $40,000 but boxer income can vary wildly. That’s why the average boxer salary can be a little misleading, as most fighters won’t earn that.

Final Thoughts

How much boxers make can vary greatly depending on all the factors we’ve mentioned above. If you have dreams of being a boxer and earning millions, you need to appreciate that, for most boxers, that’s a dream that never turns into reality.

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Kenny Jarvis
Kenny Jarvis
I have been practicing and studying boxing since I was a teenager. I am passionate about the sport, along with many other martial arts. While my fighting days may be over, I love channeling my passion into my writing to provide insightful blogs.