Sportsmail charts the rise of boxing purses over the last 111 years
From Tommy Burns and Jack Johnson scrapping over $30,000 to Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr splitting a money-spinning $98MILLION in Saudi Arabia rematch… Sportsmail charts the rise of boxing purses in history
- Fight purses on offer to boxers have risen dramatically over the last 100 years
- Tommy Burns and Jack Johnson fought over $30,000 in Sydney back in 1908
- Anthony Joshua is due to get £66m from his Andy Ruiz Jr rematch this week
- Sportsmail takes to the archives to look back at which fights earned the most
It is safe to say that the money involved in prize-fighting has rocketed in the last decade, with Anthony Joshua set for a £66million pay-day for his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr on Saturday in Saudi Arabia.
He will be due for more if he wins and the money involved is a long way from what was on offer in Sydney 111 years ago when Tommy Burns and Jack Johnson fought over a $30,000 purse.
Sportsmail charts the rise and rise of prize-fight purses from that 14-round brawl between Burns and Johnson to Conor McGregor’s money-spinning foray into boxing to take on Floyd Mayweather in 2017.
Anthony Joshua is in line for £66m from his latest fight, showing the rise in prize-fight purses
1908 – $30,000
Tommy Burns v Jack Johnson
This fight in Sydney was the first time a black man (Johnson) fought for the world heavyweight title. The bout was stopped after 14 rounds, with Johnson declared the champion.
Tommy Burns (left) took on Jack Johnson (right) in Sydney for a prize purse totalling $30,000
1910 – $120,000
Jack Johnson v James J Jeffries
Former world heavyweight champion Jeffries came out of retirement to fight Johnson in Nevada. Jeffries’ corner threw in the towel in the 15th round of the original ‘fight of the century’.
1921 – $300,000
Jack Dempsey v Georges Carpentier
World heavyweight champion Dempsey knocked out world light-heavyweight champion Carpentier in Jersey City. This was the first boxing match to be transmitted on the radio.
1927 – $990,000
Gene Tunney v Jack Dempsey
Tunney retained his world heavyweight crown in a rematch with Dempsey known as the ‘long count fight’. Tunney went down, the count was delayed, and he ended up emerging victorious.
1971 – $2.5m
Joe Frazier v Muhammad Ali
The first fight of an epic trilogy between Ali and Frazier saw Ali suffer the first defeat of his professional career after 15 rounds in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
1974 – $5.4m
George Foreman v Muhammad Ali
The Rumble in the Jungle is arguably the most famous boxing match of all time and it saw Ali knock down undefeated world heavyweight champion Frazier in the eighth round in Kinshasa.
Muhammad Ali (right) lands a right hand on George Forman (left) in their fight back in 1974
1980 – $7.5m
Sugar Ray Leonard v Roberto Duran
Leonard lost his WBC welterweight championship to Duran in Montreal by unanimous decision. Leonard never recovered after a Duran left hook in the second round knocked him into the ropes.
1980 – $18m
Roberto Duran v Sugar Ray Leonard
Leonard won the title back off Duran in New Orleans. It came after Duran sensationally quit at the end of the eighth round by saying to the referee ‘No mas’ — no more in Spanish.
1996 – $25m
Frank Bruno v Mike Tyson
Tyson won the WBC heavyweight championship from Englishman Bruno in Las Vegas after the fight was stopped in the third round following a brutal 13-punch combination.
Mike Tyson (left) took on heavyweight Frank Bruno (right) in 1996 for a prize purse worth $25m
1997 – $33m
Evander Holyfield v MIke Tyson
This rematch for the WBA heavyweight championship saw Tyson disqualified and subsequently lose his boxing license for shockingly biting off part of Holyfield’s ear.
2007 – $52m
Oscar De La Hoya v Floyd Mayweather
This light-middleweight fight in Las Vegas saw Mayweather win the WBC title by split decision after 12 tense rounds. De La Hoya was 10lb heavier than Mayweather on fight night and only fought twice more.
2013 – $80m
Floyd Mayweather v Canelo Alvarez
Another light-middleweight fight in Las Vegas and another Mayweather victory after 12 rounds. Mayweather looked untroubled for the duration of the fight and easily inflicted a first career defeat on his Mexican opponent.
2015 – $180m
Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao
After unbelievable levels of hype in the build-up, Mayweather won a cagey and unexciting affair by unanimous decision.
After serious hype, Floyd Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao in 2015 in a $180m contest
2017 – $275m
Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor
MMA’s McGregor tried his hand at boxing, but was predictably outclassed by the peerless Mayweather — who took his record to 50 wins and no losses.
2019 – $98m
Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr
This hotly-contested rematch has captured the imagination of boxing fans and has seen an eye-watering prize purse established.
Joshua is set for a heftier split, with £66m going to him, but he could be in line for more lucrative fights if he escapes another defeat to the Mexican.
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