Professional boxing gear can be quite expensive, but if you are interested in this kind of information you can check it out here. However, this raises another interesting question for us to answer. Everybody knows boxing is an extremely difficult sport to practice and to get good at, due to the endless hours of grinding necessary.
Given the amount of time and dedication required to get into the pro leagues, you would think the salaries would be really something else, wouldn’t you? As it turns out, this is not really the case. If we’ve got your attention, read on to find out more about the ways a professional boxer can make money.
What the numbers say
According to some figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, the average salary for a professional boxer was $51,370. Looking at this number, it becomes obvious that the majority of pro fighters in this sport do not come close to the seven-figure salaries earned by stars such as Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
That number is certainly on the rise since the same statistics show a number about $10.000 smaller about 5 years ago as the average salary for a boxer. Therefore, the sport has certainly been increasing in popularity and awareness so it was only natural the salaries would go up as well.
Another thing to remember is that “salary” is a loose term here since people gaining money from fights are not paid on a monthly basis but rather get “purses” from every fight, after which they have to cover their own expenses.
At the lower end of the scale, an up-and-coming boxer may certainly need additional employment to get by, since the pay is very low. He may not be able to get more than $200 per fight if he is fighting in local venues so at this rate the most he’ll make from boxing is about $2400 per year, assuming he fights once a month.
It’s been reported that as boxers move up on the food chain, they’ll get in the $10-50k range once they start contending for regional or national titles, which is a decent improvement if you can manage more than a few fights per year.
A great example of this can be the boxer Lonnie Smith who, in 2011, despite holding an 11-2 record at the time and fighting Jose Gomez on ESPN 2, made only $800 for that bout. While that was some years ago, it still shows that unless you’re one of the top guys, boxing may not be financially satisfying for you.
As with pretty much anything else, the payday of a pro boxer goes through the roof as soon as he reaches high-end venues and premium cable TV. On that level, we are talking about tens of millions of dollars as the boxer’s number of fights every year goes down because each one of them requires more training, planning, and promotion.
However, the purse is not always split evenly between the two competitors. For their highly anticipated bout in 2015, Floyd “Money” Mayweather raked in a whopping $150 million while his opponent, Manny Pacquaio, had to settle for the meager amount of $100 million.
Of course, one could argue that this was an intensely-promoted fight which was expected to bring in a lot of money. In comparison, Mayweather earned $32 million for his fight against Robert Guerrero in May 2013, a match where his ring partner only received $3 million.
We can thus acknowledge that even though this kind of money is more than enough for somebody to simply get by, the weight of the name and of the brand does not stop being a factor even once a boxer gets to the higher levels of the sport. An up-and-coming fighter taking on the champion will always receive less money than an established winner.
Additional sources of income
As we said, the purses are not the only source of revenue for professional boxers, and thank God for that! Depending on the way they negotiated their contract, they may also get a percentage from the funds earned from pay-per-view televised fights. Typically, this will lower the actual amount of money received from the fight.
Another great way for well-known boxers is to monetize their personal brand through sponsorship deals and brand ambassador roles. Seeing them wear branded trunks or hats during or after a fight is not something random but a calculated move resulted from certain deals with those brands.
For instance, the luxury watch brand Hublot is a known sponsor of numerous fighters such as Gennady (Triple G) Golovkin, Jorge Linares, and Floyd Mayweather. Their deals got so big, in fact, that Mayweather and Triple G both have limited edition watch variants designed for them.
As the boxer’s popularity increases, the better the rewards he can demand and the more bargaining he can have when negotiating the deals.
While not typical for every boxing match, this type of bonuses does exist and is usually typical for custom-made boxing tournaments such as the World Boxing Super Series. This tournament was started by a company called Comosa AG and aims to put the best fighters in the world up against each other until one of them is crowned the victor.
The fact that this type of tournament offers bonuses such as best knockout or best fight is a step forward toward ensuring that boxers really try their hardest every match and even go one step beyond that in their quest to please the fans.
Even though boxing is a combat sport, lately we have seen a real trend toward adapting the rules to make sure every fan who has paid a ticket is satisfied, rather than adapting them to affect the quality or the safety of the fights.
As we said, the times have changed and basically any business which makes money can be merchandised and sold to the public. Therefore, boxing is no different and fighters can increase their income by selling personalized gear to their fan base. Branded t-shirts and training gear are very popular and boxers also use social media apps to market their brand even more.
In a time where large amounts of Instagram followers translates to another additional income stream, it’s safe to say that while the journey to the top of the mountain is arduous, there are plenty of rewards to be ripped when boxers get there.
What about expenses?
What a great number of people don’t understand is that out of those after-match purses, boxers have to pay for a great number of things straight out of their own pocket. Since they are not employees of the boxing commissions that host the fights in the venues, they pretty much have to.
In addition to living expenses, they also have to cover insurance, travel, and training costs for themselves and pretty much their whole staff. As you can imagine, these expenses will vary based on where the boxer lives and the distance to the fight itself.
Aside from that, trainers typically take 10 percent of the money made from each and every fight. Furthermore, the manager also takes about one-third of the same purse so that’s about a quarter of the money gone right there. Even though it does seem high, the manager does work hard to find contracts and sponsors for his client.
The boxing license also has to be paid every year by every boxer and they also have to get expensive health checks done before fights. This can quickly add up to a large amount of money, especially if you don’t have an equally large amount coming in.