Boxing’s Pound-For-Pound Moneymakers: Manny Pacquiao Climbs Back On List But For How Long?

Manny Pacquiao wasn’t on this list in May. He had declined the proposition to be on the Terence Crawford-Jeff Horn undercard—and, at the same time, also likely took himself out of a possible fight with Crawford—and he’s no longer using longtime trainer Freddie Roach as his coach or Top Rank as his main promoter. If it seems like the end is near for Pacquiao, you’re not alone in that thought. Yet, he’s returned to the Pound-For-Pound Moneymakers for reasons I will explain below.

Manny Pacquiao needs a win Saturday vs. Lucas Matthysse to stay relevant. (Photo by Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images)

In the previous two months of boxing, Gary Russell Jr. put together a strong performance against then-undefeated Joseph Diaz Jr. to return himself to this list, while Crawford, Errol Spence and Jermell Charlo all grabbed solid wins. Since Keith Thurman hasn’t fought since March 2017 because of injury and since he’s not scheduled for anything in the near future, the man who made $2 million in his last fight has dropped off the list for now.

The next two months could also generate some movement for this list. Pacquiao has a tough test vs. Lucas Matthysse this Saturday, Mikey Garcia will try to unify lightweight titles vs. Robert Easter, the Oleksandr Usyk-Murat Gassiev final in the World Boxing Super Series will give boxing an undisputed cruiserweight champion, and Sergey Kovalev returns to action at light heavyweight.

As a reminder, here’s how we would rank it if this list were a regular pound-for-pound list.

1. Vasily Lomachenko

2. Terence Crawford

3. Gennady Golovkin

4. Canelo Alvarez

5. Sergey Kovalev

6. Nayoa Inoue

7. Keith Thurman

8. Errol Spence

9. Mikey Garcia

10. Anthony Joshua

But just because you’re the best boxer, that doesn’t mean you’re the best box-office draw. That said, here are the sport’s Top 15 Pound-For-Pound Moneymakers (here’s how we ranked them in May).

Note: These rankings, which are published every other month, are based on past fight purses, potential future bouts and opponents, and where they currently stand in boxing’s pecking order.

1. Anthony Joshua (previously No. 1): Boxing fans have to be disappointed that Joshua, who holds three heavyweight belts, won’t immediately unify all the titles by taking on Deontay Wilder, even though it’d be one of the biggest fights in boxing. Instead, it sounds like Joshua will face Alexander Povetkin next at Wembley Stadium where Joshua will likely draw 90,000 fans and make between £20-25 million.

2. Gennady Golovkin (previously No. 2): When Golovkin knocked out Vanes Martirosyan on the date of his originally scheduled rematch with Canelo Alvarez—where Golovkin would have probably made at least $20 million instead of the $1 million he earned vs. Martirosyan—it was telling that the fans cheered Golovkin and booed at the sound of Alvarez’s name. Thankfully, their new rematch is set for Sept. 15.

2. Canelo Alvarez (previously No. 3): We dropped Alvarez last month because his failed drug tests canceled the rematch vs. Golovkin. But we move him into a tie with Golovkin on this list because he’ll still make more than Golovkin when they fight again. But instead of the original 65-35% purse split Alvarez was contracted to make for their May 5 date, Alvarez’s new split is worse for September (55-45% in favor of Alvarez).

4. Vasily Lomachenko (previously No. 4): He’s still making seven-figure purses, and he’s still knocking out top-notch boxers. In his last outing, coming back from his own knockdown to slay lightweight champion Jorge Linares, Lomachenko suffered a torn labrum. Still, he says he’ll return to the ring in August.

5. Terence Crawford (previously No. 7): Though he initially expressed reservations about fighting Jeff Horn on the ESPN+ app, his outing was certainly a success. He earned a career-high $3 million purse while making his welterweight debut, blasting out Horn and winning his belt in the process last month.

6. Errol Spence (previously No. 6): In addition to earning a $1.2 million purse vs. Carlos Ocampo last month, he also compelled 14,000 fans to attend the Dallas-area show, cementing the fact that Spence can draw a big-time crowd in his hometown.

7. Deontay Wilder (previously No. 5): Although Wilder offered Joshua $50 million for a fight, it appears that Joshua is headed for a Povetkin showdown while Wilder—who made $2.1 million in his last fight vs. Luis Ortiz—will probably face somebody like Dominic Breazeale.

8. Sergey Kovalev (previously No. 8): He’ll be facing his best opponent since Andre Ward when Kovalev meets the undefeated Eleider Alvarez next month. With Dmitry Bivol on the undercard of this HBO fight, a potential Kovalev-Bivol showdown can get bigger (and richer for Kovalev) if he looks impressive vs. Alvarez.

9. Daniel Jacobs (previously No. 9): Now that one of the middleweight sanctioning bodies has stripped Golovkin of his title, Jacobs will get the chance to fight for that belt. But he’ll have to get by the undefeated Sergiy Derevyanchenko first, and that won’t be easy. According to ESPN, HBO is paying about $2.5 million to air the fight.

Mikey Garcia, right, will look to unify lightweight titles vs. Robert Easter. (Photo by Anthony Geathers/Getty Images)

10. Mikey Garcia (previously No. 10): Returning to the lightweight division after a brief dalliance at junior welterweight, Garcia will try to unify titles later this month vs. Robert Easter. He’ll probably win that fight and hopefully move on to a big-money fight vs. Lomachenko or Spence.

11. Jermell Charlo (previously No. 12): Despite his relatively boring decision win vs. Austin Trout last month, he’s still one of the best at junior middleweight and he managed to earn a career-high $750,000 purse.

12. Jermall Charlo (previously No. 11): We don’t know Charlo’s next move at middleweight, especially considering four of the top boxers in the division (Alvarez, Golovkin, Jacobs and Derevyanchenko) already have scheduled dates. At this point, it seems like Jermall Charlo will have to wait a while for a big-money fight.

13. Manny Pacquiao (previously unranked): If Pacquiao can’t beat Lucas Matthysse on Saturday night, there’s a decent-sized chance we’ll never see him again. But if he wins, he’ll continue to earn eight-figure paydays. His fight Saturday is only available in the U.S. on the ESPN+ app. It will be interesting to see how many people sign up for the streaming service so they can watch Pacquiao perform.

14. Gary Russell Jr. (previously unranked): Against Joseph Diaz, Russell made a $1.4 million payday. He says he wants to fight more often (Russell, for what it’s worth, has fought just once per year every year from 2015 until now).  A matchup vs. Leo Santa Cruz would be the biggest-money fight in a talented featherweight division.

15. Adrien Broner (previously No. 13): Still making $1 million purses, Broner continues to be a fighter who can bring in TV viewers. Interestingly, he also publicly turned down a supposed three-fight deal from Matchroom Boxing that would have paid him nearly $7 million. As I wrote at the time, “In the past 22 months, Broner has fought seven times. Here are five of the purses he earned: $1.25 million vs. John Molina; $1.35 million vs. Shawn Porter, $1 million vs. Adrian Granados, $1 million vs. Mikey Garcia, and $1 million vs. Jessie Vargas.” Turning down that kind of offer with those kinds of past purses will (and should) drop you quickly on this list.

This post was originally published here

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