The boxing vs. MMA debate was played out years ago. At least, it was played out when it was a matter of "which sport is better?" or "who would win in a fight?"
The two remain sister sports of sorts, both regulated by the same government commissions, both one on one fighting with TV and PPV based models.
So, with the constant discourse on fighter pay in the UFC, it's not surprising that boxing purses remain a comparison point for many fans.
"The biggest difference between boxing and MMA, when it comes to the pay rate is, I would have to say, is boxing is, you have about five guys, maybe 10 at the most who are making millions of dollars," he said. Jones continued, "Where everyone else, almost, I would imagine, is making maybe $50,000 a year. I think Dana White, over the last 15 years or something has created something like 40 multi-millionaires. That’s something I think I can confidently say that boxing hasn’t done."
Jones is pretty far off base here.
- Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal made $2 million a piece in January
- Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao obviously make millions upon millions every time they step into the ring
- Tim Bradley made $6 million to fight Pacquiao earlier this month
- Canelo Alvarez pulled in $1.25 million for his fight with Alfredo Angulo (who, himself made $750,000 for the fight, if you total up his purses like you have to do for the "Dana made 40 millionaires" thing, Angulo is in the club)
- Nonito Donaire made $1.32 million for his fight with Guillermo Rigondeaux (Rigo got $750k)
- Juan Manuel Marquez has made millions for his fights with Pacquiao and Bradley alone.
- Danny Garcia made $1.5 million for his fight with Lucas Matthysse last September, Matthysse made $800k for the fight.
- Adrien Broner has made millions over the past few years
- Marcos Maidana is in the club already, and will extend further with the upcoming Mayweather fight.
- Andre Ward? In the millionaires club.
- Bernard Hopkins would have done enough in recent years to join had he not already made $10mil for the De La Hoya fight.
- Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Paulie Malignaggi, Carl Froch, the Klitschko brothers...
That's over 20 who have made millions just in the past few years on boxing without putting in much thought at all, not even boing back "15 years." Again, these are just the names that came to mind quickly, not even having to comb through available purse reports and the like. The list grows even longer if we start totaling up money from guys who regularly pull in $100k-300k a fight.
There's also the "everyone else, almost, I would imagine, is making maybe $50,000 a year," thing. I could rattle off name after name that can pull in 6 figures for simply landing on the right card (i.e. Khabib Allakhverdiev making a quarter mil to fight on the Pacquiao/Bradley 2 undercard).
There will always be people who point out the lower end paydays for boxing, but those aren't generally fights that are supposed to contain the "best in the world," so they're not exactly a good comparison.
Either way, the comparisons are rough to try to get to apples to apples.
But, these discussions always bring to mind this tweet, a favorite from Bad Left Hook's Scott Christ:
Can’t believe Jake Shields’ deal called for $120K for a fight. Who does he think he is, boxing mega-star Sakio Bika???— Scott (@scottchristBLH) April 8, 2014