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Business of Boxing: Manny Pacquiao Places High in the Rankings That Matter

By Charles Jay
PacMoney – Marketing, Millions and Manny Pacquiao
Part Two

Most professional fighters may be concerned with where they stand in the rankings as they are laid out by the WBC, WBA, IBF, etc. If you’re really good, you are a “contender” in the pound-for-pound rankings. But when you’re in the rarefied air that Manny Pacquiao occupies, there are other “ranking systems” with more significance.


Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank

Is it alphabet soup? No, not at all. In fact, it’s a lot more about numbers than it is about letters. Entities like Forbes and Sports Illustrated carry more weight as it reflects what the overall game is about at this point in time:

That is to say, Manny and money.

And make no mistake, Pacquiao is holding his own in THESE rankings.

The Forbes Celebrity 100 is a measurement of the one hundred most powerful celebrities. There are a lot of factors that go into compiling the ranking, including income, major press exposure, internet searches and impact on social media. In 2009, Pacquiao was #57 in the list, ranked just behind Jim Carrey and ahead of Sarah Jessica Parker. In 2010 he had climbed up a couple of spots to #55, in back of country star Kenny Chesney and ahead of worldwide icon Tom Cruise.

Curiously, he doesn’t show up on the list this year, but that is not to say he is being ignored by Forbes. Pacquiao is rated in a tie for 24th among the world’s fifty highest-paid athletes as determined by that publication, with listed earnings of $25 million. That’s less of a figure than ESPN The Magazine ascribed to Pacquiao, as they estimated him to have ring earnings of $32 million for 2010.

Sports Illustrated has him even higher. Of course, SI counts not just income generated as a direct result of “on-field” performance but also appearances, endorsement money and other ancillaries. Pacquiao is fourth on SI’s “Fortunate 50,” their own list of the fifty highest-earning athletes, with an estimated income of $52.5 million. he is the only boxer on the list. Overall, he is fourth, ranking only behind Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Roger Federer.

Pacquiao is also second (up from fifth last year) in the “International 20,” which includes only those athletes who are non-American, trailing only Federer, the tennis legend who has scored sixteen grand slam victories. And he’s not far behind at all – only $281,000 worth – and in terms of momentum, he’s moving at a rate that should see him pass Federer in next year’s survey. Pacquiao places ahead of a rather impressive group of athletes: Formula One drivers Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher, soccer superstars David Beckham, Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo, tennis player Rafael Nadal, hoopsters Yao Ming and Dirk Nowitzki, and Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners.

SI.com offers yet another estimate of income, stating that Pacquiao earned $20 each for the fights against Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito last year. What is interesting to note is that by SI’s figures, if he had engaged in another pay-per-view fight during 2010, he would have easily overtaken Federer, Mickelson and Woods for the #1 spot in the “Fortunate 50.”

In terms of Forbes’ “highest-paid” list, Pacquiao is the only professional boxer. He may not be in a position to knock out Floyd Mayweather in the ring quite yet, but he KO’d Mayweather for that top spot among fighters. Mayweather, of course, didn’t help himself much by being inactive for a 13-month period.

For those who are curious as to what Pacquiao is actually worth, some insights might be found within the declarations that are required, as per the elective public office he currently holds in the Philippines.

On the basis of an “SALN” – the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth – that all representatives must put forward, it was revealed that Pacquiao was worth slightly more than one billion pesos (P1 billion), which translates into roughly 23.5 million U.S. dollars. That puts him at the top of a ranking that has some value, if only for amusement’s sake, in that he is certifiably the richest Filipino congressman, and by all accounts it is a very sizable margin.

We’re expecting that margin to get bigger with each passing month.

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