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Top 5 Most Lucrative Fights In Boxing History

The second fight between Carl Froch and George Groves is proving to be one of the most anticipated in British boxing history. The immense rivalry between the two means that the whole country is seemingly keeping tabs on the build-up, ahead of the bout on May 31st.

Some experts have already suggested that the fight could be worth up to £17m, and smash any other pay-per-view record created by a UK event. However, this is still a drop in the ocean compared to some of the fights that have occurred across the pond, with the US hosting events that have been known to accumulate over $100m. Here, we’ll take a look at the biggest five and the many millions they raised.

Mike Tyson v Peter McNeeley - $96m

Considering the fact that this was Mike Tyson’s comeback following his prison sentence for rape, this fight in 1995 was always going to be a blockbuster. It’s understood that no fewer than 1.5m people bought the package, although whether or not they received value for money is questionable. The fight lasted less than 90 seconds, with Tyson showing that he had not lost any of his quality as he knocked McNeeley down twice during this period. It immediately prompted the lesser-known fighter to be pulled out by his team, and record just the second defeat of his career.

Mike Tyson v Evander Holyfield - $100.2m

A couple of years later and Tyson was again the subject of a big-money fight, with this proving to be the first event that surpassed the illusive $100m mark. Tyson and Holyfield had been involved in a fight just a few months before this, with the latter succeeding with a comfortable victory. Therefore, there was plenty of anticipation leading up to the rematch, although nobody expected the events that unfolded.

This would prove to be one of the most famous matches of all time, with Tyson biting a chunk of Holyfield’s ear off in the third round. Not only was Tyson disqualified from the fight, allowing Holyfield to prosper, but he was stripped of his boxing license and fined $3m for his actions.

Lennox Lewis v Mike Tyson - $112m

Notice a common factor between these fights? Again, Mike Tyson was the subject, although this time he was pitted against British boxer Lennox Lewis in 2002. Unsurprisingly, there was plenty of controversy before the fight, with the boxers brawling at the press conference.

Even though this is one of the largest grossing events in boxing history, in terms of live ticket sales it fared poorly. Just over 15,000 came to Memphis, with many disgusted at some of the ticket prices which cost as high as $2,400.

It was also to be another blow for Tyson, with Lewis triumphing after knocking his opponent out in Round 8.

Oscar De La Hoya v Floyd Mayweather Jr. - $136m

It took five years before the $112m barrier was broken and for the first time in this article, Mike Tyson is not a feature. Instead, it was left to Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. to battle it out for the riches, with the latter receiving no less than $52m just for turning up.

It would be fair to say that the build-up to this fight was less eventful and it was void of any fights or grudges that blighted some of the other big money events. It was also one of the tightest features of the article, with Mayweather Jr. winning by split decision following twelve rounds.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Saul Alvarez - $150m

The current record for the most lucrative fight stands at $150m, and occurred less than a year ago. Not only this, it is seen as the most profitable sporting event that has ever taken place.

This fight also had little controversy attached, at least between the boxers. The biggest outcry revolved around the judge’s scoring, with one declaring the fight as a draw despite Mayweather Jr.’s dominance throughout. The actions of this judge forced her to retire, but the outcome of the fight was still rightly concluded with the others voting in majority of Mayweather Jr.