Floyd Mayweather Jr., Courtesy USA Today.
(USA TODAY) - Floyd "Money" Mayweather's nickname fits his new title to a tee: The world's highest-paid athlete.
Forbes.com named Mayweather its highest-paid athlete over the last year. Mayweather earned $85 million, knocking golfer Tiger Woods out of the top spot that he has held since 2001. Woods fell to third behind another boxer, Manny Pacquiao, who earned $62 million. Woods took home $59.4 million.
Mayweather, who is currently serving an 87-day jail sentence in Las Vegas, earned his $85 million for a little more than an hour's work in the ring. He knocked out Victor Ortiz in the fourth round last September, earning $40 million, then dispatched Miguel Cotto by a unanimous 12-round decision on May 5, taking home $45 million.
Because Mayweather acts as his own promoter, he maximizes his earnings. His company, Mayweather Promotions, collects all of the revenue from tickets, pay-per-view and sponsorships and covers the costs, including the purse for his opponent. His earnings per fight is about 50% higher than Pacquiao, who is promoted by Top Rank, earns.
None of Mayweather's earnings came from endorsements. Pacquiao had $6 million in endorsements, while Woods, according to Forbes, made $55 million of his earnings through endorsements.
While Mayweather is one of sports' most polarizing figures, he also knows how to create a buzz, which causes a lot of people to buy his pay-per-view fights. Mayweather has been a part of the four biggest non-heavyweight PPV events in boxing history. His fight with Cotto generated $94 million in PPV buys.
Pacquiao fought Juan Manuel Marquez and Tim Bradley. which earned him $56 million, including revenue he gets from their broadcast in the Philippines. Pacquiao has become boxing's biggest advertising magnet, doing endorsements for Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Monster Energy and Hennessy.
LeBron James leads the 13 basketball players who made the cut in the top 100, ranking fourth overall with earnings of $53 million. James had his salary cut 20% by the NBA lockout, but continues to be an endorsement king, making $40 million from sponsors like Nike, Coca-Cola, State Farm and McDonald's.
Of the 30 NFL players on the list, Peyton Manning is the highest-paid player with earnings of $42.4 million, 10th overall. The Indianapolis Colts paid Manning $26.4 million in 2011 even though he missed the season recovering from neck surgery. Manning continues to be the NFL's top pitchman, earning $10 million from Reebok, Gatorade, Sony, DirecTV, Wheaties and Papa John's.
Two women made the top 100, both tennis players. Maria Sharapova ranks No. 26 with $27.9 million in earnings. Li Na ranks 81st with earnings of $18.4 million.