Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor: Five famous moments in boxing's financial history

Sport360 staff 15/06/2017

Nine-figure purses and pay-per-view revenues to match have already been projected for Floyd Mayweather's fight with mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor in Las Vegas in August.

Here, Press Association Sport picks out five more seminal moments in boxing's financial history:

1. JACK JOHNSON v JIM JEFFERIES, 1910

Jefferies came out of retirement to challenge Johnson in the so-called 'Fight of the Century' as white America sought desperately to find a way to dethrone the controversial champion. Johnson was tempted by a purse in excess of USD100,000 - two thirds of which was promised to the winner. In front of 20,000 people in Reno, Johnson duly took the spoils.

2. GENE TUNNEY v JACK DEMPSEY, 1927

Tunney all but earned boxing's first million-dollar purse for his world heavyweight title rematch with Dempsey in 1927. Tunney's actual purse was USD990,445, but he paid promoter Tex Rickard the difference in order to receive a cheque for USD1million. Tunney won the much-hyped contest which will go down in history as 'The Batlte of the Long Count' after Tunney survived an extended seventh round knockdown.

3. MUHAMMAD ALI v GEORGE FOREMAN, 1974

Ali and Foreman split a total purse of USD10million for what is arguably the most famous boxing match of all time - a relative pittance by today's astronomical standards. Promoter Don King made the promise to bring the pair together, then was forced to head to the heart of Africa to discover a regime obsessive and dictatorial enough to stump up the cash. The Rumble in the Jungle was born.

4. SUGAR RAY LEONARD v THOMAS HEARNS, 1981

Leonard was no stranger to multi-million dollar purses after two epic battles with Roberto Duran. But the USD10million he was to be paid for his world welterweight title scrap with Thomas Hearns set a new record for dollars earned in a single sporting event. Hearns also earned over USD5million for a contest which shattered the notion that only the sport's heavyweight division could command such fees.

5. FLOYD MAYWEATHER v MANNY PACQUIAO, 2015

Mayweather and Pacquiao both grossed nine-figure purses for the first time despite their anti-climactic meeting in Las Vegas in 2015. The richest bout in boxing history earned a total of around USD600million in total revenue, almost two thirds of which was made up by record pay-per-view buys. The new mark shattered the estimated USD150million generated by Mayweather's previous fight against Saul Alvarez.

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Dana White and Leonard Ellerbe on creating the "impossible fight" as Conor McGregor/Floyd Mayweather is confirmed

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UFC President Dana White and CEO of Mayweather Promotions Leonard Ellerbe on Wednesday announced what could be the biggest fight in combat sports history, boxing legend Floyd Mayweather taking on Conor McGregor.

The super-fight is scheduled to take place on August 26, 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.

While Mayweather will be aiming for a 50-0 milestone, Mcgregor will be walking into the ring as an underdog for his professional boxing bout.

Speaking while addressing the media, White said: “Floyd is the greatest of all time and Conor is the master of our sport,” MMA promoter Dana White said. “I thought it would be an impossible deal to do, but it was the right fight at the right time and we got it done.”

After months of speculation and hype, the announcement triggered both criticism and anticipation for what is set to be one of the richest fights in history.

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If I fight again, big chance it'll be McGregor - Mayweather

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Back in the ring? Mayweather.

Floyd Mayweather Jr has revealed a fight against UFC champion Conor McGregor is “90 per cent” likely – if he boxes again.

The retired undefeated five-weight world champion, who has not boxed since September 2015, admits he wants to fight Irishman McGregor rather than any boxer in a clash that would attract global interest and could set new records for pay-per-view revenue.

UFC lightweight champion McGregor, 28, last week applied for a boxing licence in Nevada and there has been mounting speculation the pair will meet in the boxing ring this year.

American Mayweather, 40, broke his silence on ending his retirement and trying to extend his perfect record to 50-0 against McGregor, who has a UFC record of 21 wins and three defeats.

“If I do fight, there’s a 90 per cent chance it’s against Conor McGregor,” Mayweather told a news conference on Saturday night at the Copper Box Arena in London.

“The only sort of numbers I worry about are pay-per-view numbers. I have to see what the next move is.”

Critics have claimed it would be a mismatch, but Mayweather insists it is the biggest fight to be made in boxing and mixed martial arts.

“The only fight that makes sense to me is the McGregor fight,” Mayweather said.  “I’ve accomplished everything (else) I want to accomplish. Conor McGregor is professional and so am I. He’s a stand-up fighter and I’m a stand-up fighter. He kicks ass in the octagon and I kick ass in the boxing ring.

“The fans demand that fight and you have to give the fans what they want to see.”

Mayweather, who was sport’s biggest earner before he retired following his win over Andre Berto in September 2015, will discuss fighting McGregor with his advisor Al Haymon when he returns to America next week.

“I’m over here right now, working, always working,” said Mayweather, who out-pointed Manny Pacquiao in boxing’s richest fight in Las Vegas in May 2015.

“When I get back to the US I will call Al [Haymon] and see what our next move is, there’s no rush. I have to put my team together.

“Most likely when we do make the move it’s going to be a very huge move. When Floyd Mayweather fights, it’s history.

“The only thing I’m chasing right now is my own record. When the times comes I will get the team together.”

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