Floyd Mayweather may hold the title as the richest boxer ever, with a net worth of $460 million, but this win seemingly came with strategic financial decisions he made early in his career.
Mayweather is the highest-grossing boxer of all time, according to ESPN, after having entered the sport in 1996. In his 18th professional fight, he defeated the late Genaro Hernandez in the eighth round to win his first title and take the WBC super featherweight belt. This first major win began his dominance in the ring, with 50 wins, zero losses and five division championships.
Recently, he was inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Induction. During the weekend of August 26 to 27, Mayweather joined former champ Roy Jones Jr. as the only other member of the 2021 inductee class.
During his acceptance speech, Mayweather, 45, spoke about the decision that changed his career. At one point, he decided to make an nvestment in himself and use $750,000 of his fight winnings to buy himself out of his contract.
While speaking about his belief in generational wealth and the financial planning he has done to secure the futures of his children and other family members, Mayweather said the turning point in his career came with getting out of a promotional contract.
“One of the great things about my career was when I was getting older, and I thought about my career. I said, ‘You know what I’m gonna do? I want to be my own promoter.’ So, one of the best investments was $750,000 when I bought myself out of my contract,” Mayweather explained in his acceptance speech. “And then in three fights, with the Conner McGregor, Manny Pac, and Canelo, I was able to make $750 million.”
Banking on Himself
Early in his career, Mayweather was signed to high-profile promoter Bob Arum. He noticed that another fighter in his camp, Oscar de la Hoya, was getting more favorable fight match-ups and media coverage. When Mayweather approached Arum with a plan on how to market his career by pushing him in more urban communities, ones dominated by African-American fans, Arum rebuffed his idea. Knowing that he did not want to miss out on his target audience, Mayweather worked on getting out of his contact with Arum, who was a heavyweight in the fighting industry. It would be a risky move on Mayweather’s part as other fighters were clamoring to be repped by Arum.
But Mayweather has a vision of himself that Arum didn’t share.
At first, Mayweather tried to renegotiate his contract with Arum and Arum’s company, Top Rank, a professional boxing promotion company. But Arum wouldn’t change the terms of the contract. According to “The Making of a Millionaire,” Arum reportedly told him, “Sometimes Floyd, you gotta know when to fold and when to hold.”
But the contract had a unique opt-out clause. Floyd could buy it out for $750,000, and he did just that.
Once he was out of Arum’s camp, he launched his own boxing promotional company.
Mayweather Promotions would go on to rival Top Rank, and Mayweather’s own earnings grew. Prior to leaving Top Rank, Mayweather was averaging about $3 million dollars a fight. Afterward, he made $8 million in his first fight.
Great Team, Great Plan
During his speech, Mayweather also gave credit to his team for helping him build his company.
“I didn’t do it by myself. I had to have a great team and a great game plan,” Mayweather said.
Money Advice to Future Champs
Mayweather seems to want athletes to remember sports is also a business. “To all the champions coming after me, save your money, be smart, and the less you get hit, the longer you can last in the sport of boxing,” he said.