Professional boxing may sound like a desirable career when you watch those televised games between famous fighters with significantly high prize money. They must make much more than an average boxers salary, right? However, there are certain things to understand when it comes to a boxing ‘purse’. A purse in boxing refers to the amount that is negotiated by a fighter’s agent when finalizing a match. Unfortunately, this entire amount does not go sit in the boxer’s pocket, so boxer salary per fight is limited to a certain percentage. So let us see just how much do boxers get paid.
The prize money is divided into certain percentages or salaries between the boxer, the agent, the supporting staff, and of course, as tax to the government. So, how much do boxers make? Well, let us look at the various earning sources and approximate amounts.
Average Boxer Salary Per Fight: An Indefinite Category
It’s not easy to say what the average boxer salary per fight is. It just depends on too many factors. We all can figure out that professional famous boxers with sponsors earn millions. But if we add these payment examples to the average, the resulting numbers will be deceiving. A beginner boxer (boxing, kickboxing, etc.) can earn up to $4,000 per fight or $10,000 in the medium range on average.
But to get a real perspective on how much do boxers make, we should review every category, from beginners to pro boxers like Canelo and others.
How Much Do Professional Boxers Make: Minimum Professional Pay
Boxers are not regular employees like those in a 9-5 job, so they make money differently. Hence, they do not have a salary. Consequently, boxing earnings do not fall under the laws of a minimum wage.
Earnings are typically per fight and could be as low as $200 for a match. Why? Because the sport does not have many regulations when it comes to boxers getting paid and the difference between the earnings of a beginner and that of an expert could be millions of dollars.
There are other factors for minimum pay such as whether the fight is against a regular winner, in which case, the losing participant is paid a meagre sum just for being there.
However, even considering so many variations and the lack of a proper payment structure, an average professional boxer has the potential to earn anywhere between $22000 and $37000 per year, minus their expenses such as health, travel, training, and management costs. This is the average boxers salary if the sportsman is a beginner to midrange.
How Much Do Boxers Get Paid: Maximum Earnings of Professionals
As with the minimum earnings, there is no fixed ceiling for the highest-paid boxers. So how much do professional boxers make? Elite level fighters such as Floyd Mayweather could earn up to $500 million just for a couple of fights. Popular boxers usually get a guaranteed payment of a few million dollars per fight, while the exact amount also depends on the status of the winner and the loser.
Certain high profile fights such as the one between Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez back in 2013 saw the winner bagging prize money worth $75 million while the opponent made a little bit more than $10 million.
These earnings vary with time, too. According to a list by Forbes, Alvarez dethroned Mayweather in 2019 as the highest-paid boxer with total earnings of $94 million. While these amounts sound lucrative, few boxers can reach that height in their entire career.
There are certain other famous boxers such as Chris Algieri, who, not being as elite as Mayweather, earned a decent purse of about $15000 per fight. The purse grows as contestants stand in the ring for a title fight.
Sponsorship and Endorsements
Endorsements are a large part of a boxer’s earnings where a fighter is typically asked by a sponsor to wear their logo during a fight or in other forms of portrayals. How much do boxers get paid by sponsors? Again, high-priced endorsements are usually reserved for star-fighters, so you can do the math.
At times, an average professional boxer might also receive endorsement requests from mediocre brands, in which case, the earnings would also be mediocre. Endorsement related earnings for boxers also increase substantially when a particular fight is televised and/or if it is a title fight.
Elite boxer Canelo Alvarez is known to have earnings from endorsements of about $2 million in 2019. Of course, Alvarez’s star status and the hype around him help to garner such a huge earning, but it could also be a decent amount for an average boxer to get paid if negotiated well by the boxer’s agent.
Bonuses and Other Earnings
Boxers could make a significant amount of money if their fights are televised. Through pay-per-view earnings, after the television channels keep their fair share, the rest of the earnings are typically paid to the boxers.
The terms of such payment are not widely known, but the popular Mayweather seemed to have earned as high as $100 million from pay-per-view earnings for title fights that were televised.
Some boxing matches also specify a win bonus before the fight begins. For non-elite boxers, this could be a huge opportunity to put their best foot forward for earning the bonus.
Although there is no exact specification of the amount of money a fighter can earn from a win bonus, being dependent on the negotiation terms of the purse for the day, in certain fights it has been known to double the actual earnings of the winner.
Surely it is an incentive for an average boxer, but winning against popular boxers itself is a huge task. Thus the win bonus might be a distant dream for most boxers.
Boxing vs Other Jobs
In terms of earnings, while an average professional boxer could earn somewhere around $25-$30k per year, this is way below the median pay of $50,650 per year for athletes and sports competitors in general, as per the 2018 survey of Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Hence, as far as the money is concerned, boxing might not be as lucrative as some of the other sports such as basketball, baseball, or soccer.
When compared to desk jobs, a career in boxing, of course, lacks stability and longevity. Most boxers pay through their nose for personal training, only to end up competing in games where they make low amounts of a few hundred dollars.
Being a physically demanding sport, boxers cannot keep stretching and fighting to earn a few extra dollars, as opposed to a 9-5 job where a bit of stretching now and then does no harm.
Additionally, as with any sport, most boxers tend to retire after the age of 35, as the body’s ability to endure fights becomes weaker. Although it is rare there are some boxers however, that become successful past this age.
Conclusion: Is it Worth It?
If you are still pondering over whether to delve into professional boxing, here are a few factors that could help you reach a decision. First of all, if boxing is your passion, go for it. Certainly, there are challenges for beginners, but the sport still has a large worldwide fan base and also, the struggle is a necessary part of any sport.
If you are worried about the earnings, and you should be, considering the low average income of boxers, you could take up a day job to support your monthly bills. Bear in mind that training for matches consumes a lot in terms of energy and time, hence, a full-time job alongside boxing might not be possible.
Lastly, be prepared to be the underdog and let go of high prize money at least for a good few years. Reaching the elite list might be the ultimate dream, but it is crucial to keep your feet grounded and take up fights even if you lose.
If, however, you feel the expenses and the health risks are too much compared to the earnings, then boxing might not be the right choice for you. I hope this somewhat answers the question as to how do boxers get paid.
Check out the rules of boxing here
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