Boxer Floyd Mayweather is one of the standouts of a mesmerising video created by website NoobNorm that charts the highest-paid athletes on the planet over the last 30 years, using yearly lists from Forbes Magazine.
Fittingly, the video begins and ends with a boxer topping the list, as Mayweather sits on top near the end of 2019 while Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas lead in 1990 – the year of Douglas’ historic upset of Tyson.
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The two-minute clip brilliantly captures the biggest sports stories of the last three decades through the prism of the biggest money stars.
Superstar boxers hover near the top of the chart for most of the 30 years, with the exception of the 2000s after the decline of Tyson. Oscar De La Hoya is the only boxer to chart in that period.
Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao shoot up the chart in the 2010s, culminating in their 2015 mega-fight which saw both men pull in over $US100 million for the year.
The world’s highest paid athletes (1990-2019) pic.twitter.com/E1q1pM7d7j
— Kendall Baker (@TheKendallBaker) December 10, 2019
At the peak of his powers, NBA legend Michael Jordan sits at the top of the chart, being passed briefly by Mike Tyson following his comeback and fights with Evander Holyfield. After Tyson’s boxing license was rescinded for biting off part of Holyfield’s ear, Jordan reclaimed his spot on top of the chart.
Then came the era of two greats – Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher and golf’s Tiger Woods. Both became global superstars at the turn of the millennium, Schumacher mostly in Europe and Woods elsewhere, with the pair sharing the lead in the cash chart before Woods pulls away after 2005.
With massive endorsement and prize money, Woods soars ahead of the rest of the world’s athletes, before his infamous late 2009 cheating scandal began to hit his back pocket. Combined with injuries and a decline in form, Woods is then passed by Mayweather.
The continuing rise in Grand Slam prize money combined with massive endorsement dollars sees Roger Federer surge into the top few spots at that point, with LeBron James’ status as the greatest active NBA player putting him in the picture too.
After the Mayweather v Pacquiao fight, soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi briefly hit the top of the chart, but then it’s another Floyd mega-fight – the bizarre but massive battle between Mayweather and UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
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