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Floyd Mayweather Jr. Bumps Tiger Woods, Becoming Forbes' Top-Paid Athlete

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, punching Victor Ortiz during their WBC welterweight title fight in Las Vegas in September. i i

hide captionFloyd Mayweather Jr., left, punching Victor Ortiz during their WBC welterweight title fight in Las Vegas in September.

Julie Jacobson/AP
Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, punching Victor Ortiz during their WBC welterweight title fight in Las Vegas in September.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, punching Victor Ortiz during their WBC welterweight title fight in Las Vegas in September.

Julie Jacobson/AP

According to Forbes, the boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. is now the world's highest-paid athlete, dethroning Tiger Woods who had held the spot since 2001.

Two bouts during the past 12 months — beating Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto in less than an hour combined — netted Mayweather $85 million. That's more than LeBron James ($53 million), more than Roger Federer ($52.7 million), more than Kobe Bryant ($52.3 million).

The No. 2 spot is now held by another boxer: Manny Pacquiao ($62 million). Woods fell to No. 3 earning $59.4 million.

Forbes reports:

"Mayweather maximizes his earnings by also acting as his own fight promoter through his company Mayweather Promotions. He collects all of the revenue from tickets, pay-per-view and sponsorships and covers the costs, including the purse for his opponent. His take home per fight is typically at least 50% higher than what his rivalManny Pacquiao earns.

"Being a wildly polarizing figure doesn't seem to have hurt his earnings. He charmed old ladies as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in 2007 and provoked outrage with his racially charged, hate-filled rant against Pacquiao in 2010. His antics create buzz, and the result is both boxing fans and people who are normally indifferent to the sport pay up for his bouts. He has been a part of the four biggest non-heavyweight PPV events in boxing's history. The Cotto fight generated $94 million in PPV receipts."

Mayweather, by the way, is in jail right now serving a three-month sentence for domestic battery. As ESPN reported yesterday, his lawyers asked a judge to release him "because the low-quality food and water have threatened his health." The judge denied the request.

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