Boxing

Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s WWE Cameo Earned Him $20 Million

The list of billionaire athletes includes a few names: Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Christiano Ronaldo, and welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. Considered the best living boxer in his weight class, Mayweather has had amazing paydays. But not all of his money comes from boxing. The businessman learned to diversify his income stream. Take WWE’s WrestleMania XXIV for example.   

WWE’s WrestleMania XXIV

The year was 2008. Mayweather was riding high at the height of his career. Coming off a decade of high-profile fights, Money Mayweather rose from lightweight to welterweight, earning multiple world titles as he went.

Beyond his incredibly mobile fighting style — centered on deftly slipping punches even when it seemed like he was on the ropes — Mayweather was an expert promoter. It made sense for him to try his hand in the WWE. On February 17th, 2008 at WWE No Way Out, Mayweather and his entourage were positioned as simple attendees.

Mayweather suddenly leapt into action to defend a fallen Rey Mysterio against the Big Show, resulting in a broken nose for the gigantic wrestler. Thus, the stage was set for Mayweather’s official WWE debut at WrestleMania XXIV. 

Floyd Mayweather versus the Big Show

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After the Big Show’s nose was broken from Mayweather’s ringside antics, he publicly challenged the boxer to a fight at March’s WrestleMania. Ever the promoter, Mayweather accepted. 

The night of the fight, in front of more than 74,000 fans and millions more at home via pay per view, Mayweather showed up to the fight dressed in full boxing regalia, according to Bleacher Report. The size difference was immediately noticeable.

Mayweather stood at 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds versus the Big Show at 7-feet-tall and 383 pounds. Given the disparity, fans expected the mammoth wrestler to make short work of the smaller boxer. That’s not how a professional wrestling match works though. 

Mayweather’s strategy was simple: Stay out of the bigger fighter’s reach and wear him down with body blows. Big Show eventually got ahold of the boxer and tossed him around for a while. The beating involved chokeslams and punches to the arm.

At one point, Mayweather tried to escape the ring with his cornermen’s help. But Big Show dragged him back in. It just wouldn’t be WrestleMania if there wasn’t a chair involved. One of Mayweather’s cornermen hit Big Show over the head, giving Mayweather a chance to recover.

The fight seemed over when the Big Show got ahold of Mayweather one last time. But the smaller boxer lined up a well-placed shot to his groin, incapacitating him. In true theatrical nature, Mayweather removed his glove. He got a set of brass knuckles from his corner and finished the job. 

Logging an easy payday 

Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. appears in a 2009 WWE show | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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So what did his performance net him? The estimated payout was just north of $20 million. Not bad, but how does that compare to some of Mayweather’s other fights? Is $20 million a significant amount or is it just another drop in the bucket for the billionaire fighter? 

Versus Shane Mosley in 2010, Mayweather netted $40 million, details GoBanking.com. For Canelo Alvarez in 2013, the payout was $80 million. 2015’s legendary fight against Manny Pacquiao was a staggering $240 million dollar check. But nothing compares to his 2017 special exhibition match against the UFC’s Connor McGregor. This fight netted $390 million, solidifying the nickname Floyd “Money” Mayweather. 

So $20 million may not be a lot to a titan like Mayweather. But all said and done, it was probably the easiest payday he’s ever had.