FROM ring icon to global superstar. From multimillionaire to billionaire.
Manny Pacquiao affirmed his status as one of the brightest lights in the boxing firmament with his first ever appearance on Forbes Magazine?s list of world?s highest-paid athletes this year.
Cashing in mainly on his devastating victories over former boxing Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya and British idol Ricky Hatton, Pacquiao ranked sixth in Forbes? elite cast with estimated earnings of $40 million (about P1.9 billion) from June 2008 to June 2009. Atop the list was golfer Tiger Woods.
The 30-year-old Pacquiao, the world?s best pound-for-pound fighter, emerged tied in earnings with current NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and golfer Phil Mickelson, just a shade under soccer glamour boy David Beckham ($42 million).
Forbes is a prestigious business magazine. It describes itself on its website as ?a leading Internet media company [that] is among the most trusted resources for the world?s business and investment leaders,? providing reports on business, technology, investing and lifestyle and the databases, such as the annual Forbes Lists, among others.
More money than Federer
In an article written by Kurt Badenhausen, Woods wound up the runaway top grosser for the eighth straight year with $110 million. That amount was below Woods? $115 million overall earnings last year but nearly 2 1/2 times more than what joint second placers Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Kimi Raikkonen earned.
Bryant, main man of the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, the basketball legend Jordan and the Finnish Formula One driver Raikkonen grossed $45 million each.
Surprisingly, Pacquiao earned more than tennis star Roger Federer, who won the French Open last month for his 14th Grand Slam title. With $33 million to his credit, Federer was tied with the Phoenix Suns? Shaquille O?Neal.
De La Hoya fight
Pacquiao is estimated to have gotten at least $20 million, including pay per view (PPV) shares, for making De La Hoya quit on his stool after the eighth round last Dec. 6. De La Hoya, who still made the list with $32 million, eventually announced his retirement early this year.
Pacquiao, who was honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America as its Fighter of the Year on June 12 in New York, went on with a two-round demolition of Hatton on May 2, raking in a guaranteed purse of $12 million plus a yet to be announced PPV share.
Also included in Pacquiao?s coffers were the $3-to-$5 million he got for knocking out former World Boxing Council lightweight champion David Diaz in nine rounds last June 28.
Other athletes on the list confined to those who earned at least $30 million were motorcyclist Valentino Rossi ($35M), Nascar superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($34M), Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton ($32M), New York Yankees? Alex Rodriguez ($32M), golfer Vijay Singh ($31M), Boston Celtics? Kevin Garnett ($31M), Nascar driver Jeff Gordon ($30M), New York Yankees? Derek Jeter ($30M) and two-time football Player of the Year Ronaldinho ($30M) of AC Milan.
Another huge paycheck awaits Pacquiao when he returns to the ring on Nov. 14, most likely against WBC welterweight champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico.
A megabuck bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. is also on the horizon for Pacquiao, who is already considered the best Asian and best southpaw fighter ever and is a cinch to enter boxing?s Hall of Fame.
Earlier this year, Forbes Magazine also put Pacquiao on its roster of world?s most powerful celebrities, ranking him 57th. The roster was headed by actress Angelina Jolie, television host Oprah Winfrey and singer-performer Madonna.
Time Magazine has also put Pacquiao, who has won five world crowns in as many divisions, on its own list of the world?s most influential people.
No other Filipino appeared on the three rosters, a testament to Pacquiao?s universal recognition that goes beyond the realm of sports. Roy Luarca