Exactly how much money Floyd Mayweather Jr. will make on the Manny Pacquiao fight is still unclear.
Because of Mayweather's unique financing structure — where he promotes his fights himself and takes a cut of the total revenue rather than getting paid a negotiated guarantee up front — he stands to make well over $100 million. But how much more?
At a press conference on Tuesday, Mayweather said the fight would make him $200 million.
Many boxing fans think this fight is happening five years too late, with both fighters past their primes. Mayweather responded to a question about the fight's timing by saying he's going to make much, much more money now than he would have made in a proposed Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in 2010.
"Why won't you guys just say that Floyd was the smart one?" he said. "Five years ago this was a $50 million fight for me. And this was a $20 million fight for him."
If Floyd is to be believed, holding off for five years made him $150 million.
Is this really possible?
In a word, maybe.
According to the proposed contract for the 2010 fight obtained by Yahoo's Kevin Iole, the pay-per-view would have been priced at $60. If it generated three million PPV buys (well above the 2007 record of 2.48), that'd be $180 million in PPV revenue.
The May 2 fight is priced at $100. If it generates three million buys (a conservative estimate), it works out to $300 million in revenue. Around ~60% of that (~$150 million) goes to the fighters, the New York Times reports, with Mayweather taking a 60-40 split of the profits.
You also have to factor in two business decisions that Mayweather made between 2010 and 2015.
In 2013, he left HBO for a more lucrative deal with Showtime.
In 2014, his company Mayweather Promotions received a promoters license in Nevada, giving him an even more control of revenue. Between 2007 and 2014, all of Mayweather's fights were co-promoted with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. On the 2010 contract obtained by Iole, Golden Boy is listed as the promotion company that controls the revenue on Mayweather's behalf.
Now Mayweather Promotions is the lead promoter of the superfight, with greater control over revenue than they would have had in 2010.
While Mayweather and Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum have implied that the five-year wait for Mayweather-Pacquiao was ultimately smart because it generated more interest, it's not the public interest level that makes the 2015 fight so much more lucrative for Mayweather than the 2010 fight. The pie might be slightly bigger now than it was in 2015, but what really matters is Mayweather gets a bigger piece of it.