The World's Highest Paid Athletes Punch Faces and Kick Balls for a Living

If boxing is dead, why did Floyd Mayweather, Jr. earn $73.5 million for just two fights last year? Money, as the boxer aptly goes by, tops ESPN's list of the world's highest paid athletes.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, two soccer players in Spain's La Liga, rank as the highest paid participants in a team sport. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, at $40 million, tops American team-sport athletes. ESPN relies on salary and prize money, and not endorsements, to calculate the rankings.

Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke's $28 million salary makes him the highest paid in Major League Baseball. Kobe Bryant, who played just six games this past season, ranks first in the NBA with a $30.5 million take. Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber, tops the NHL's list at $14 million.

In breaking the New York Yankees' stranglehold on breaking the MLB bank, the Los Angeles Dodgers now boast the highest payroll in all of professional sports. A similar changing of the guard puts the revitalized Manchester City, the long-suffering cross-town rival of Manchester United, behind the Yankees at three on the list of highest team payrolls.  

Not a single golfer, tennis star, mixed-martial artist, or hockey player appears on the 25-highest-paid athletes list. Though two F1 racers make the list, not a single NASCAR driver does. Also missing from the list? Women.    


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