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Mayweather set for richest sports year ever: Forbes

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Floyd Mayweather's blockbuster May 2 bout with Manny Pacquiao will help make the American fighter's 2015 earnings shatter the all-time record for a sportsman's annual pay, Forbes.com calculated on Thursday.

[LOS ANGELES] Floyd Mayweather's blockbuster May 2 bout with Manny Pacquiao will help make the American fighter's 2015 earnings shatter the all-time record for a sportsman's annual pay, Forbes.com calculated on Thursday.

Forbes noted that Mayweather will likely to earn at least US$150 million and Pacquiao more than US$100 million for the welterweight world title showdown in Las Vegas.

The financial news website said payouts could be higher still if more than three million pay-per-views are sold.

Mayweather's haul would represent the highest yearly earnings ever by an athlete, surpassing Tiger Woods' inflation-adjusted record of US$125 million in 2008, Forbes said.

Woods currently occupies both first and second place on Forbes' list of all-time highest paid athletes in a given year, adjusted for inflation, his adjusted earnings of US$120 million in 2009 number two on the list.

NBA legend Michael Jordan is next, with inflation-adjusted earnings of US$115 million in both 1997 and 1998. Woods' US$113 million in 2007 and 2010 are next.

The highest boxer on the list is former heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson, with inflation adjusted earnings of US$112 million in 1996.

Forbes said its figures were the result of 25 years of tracking athletes' earnings.

Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum has predicted that record-shattering revenue totals for the May 2 mega-fight could surpass US$400 million.

That includes US$74 million from just over 15,000 tickets at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The foreign rights to the fight sold for a record US$35 million, according to Arum.

As Forbes noted, the big X-factor in a final revenue figure is pay-per-view sales.

Boxing's record for pay-per-view purchases is the 2.4 million buys from Mayweather's split-decision win over Oscar de la Hoya.

The record for pay-per-view receipts is the US$152 million set by Mayweather's 2013 bout with Saul 'Canelo" Alvarez.

Mayweather-Pacquiao, a fight more than five years in the making between the men considered the best pound-for-pound fighters of their generation, is expected to "crush" both pay-per-view numbers, Forbes noted.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the pay-per-view price for the fight will be a record US$99 for the high definition feed, with a standard definition version costing a slightly cheaper US$89.

AFP