ByJosh Molina, writer at
Covers mixed martial arts and professional wrestling and the convergence of the two industries.
Josh Molina

Manny Pacquiao rose from the Philippine slums to become one of the wealthiest fighters on the planet.

The 37-year-old worked his way up from nothing to become a boxing superstar, cultural icon and political office holder in his home country of the Philippines.

The Filipino's journey through the sport of boxing has seen him go from extreme poverty to massive wealth. He is the second richest fighter of all time.

The Honorable Emmanuel Pacquiao - who is now a Senator in the Philippines - will resume his career after a brief retirement when he faces WBO junior welterweight champion Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas on Nov. 5 and add another hefty payday to his bank account. According to Rappler, Pacquiao's purse will be "a percentage" of all proceeds of the fight. It may not be Mayweather money, but it certainly dwarfs the paydays that Pacquiao saw before he became one of the most well-known boxers in the world.

According to Forbes Magazine, Pacquiao has earned more than $500 million as a professional fighter throughout his legendary career. It's a far cry from the 1,000 pesos or $20 that Pacquiao earned in his boxing debut 21 years ago.

The Filipino fighter has also enjoyed success and wealth outside of his sport in perhaps a way that no other athlete has. He is not only a beloved athlete, but he's also a politician and humanitarian.

In his home country of the Philippines, Pacquiao has been elected to the Senate. It's hard to imagine any professional athlete achieving such political success in the United States. Pacquiao has also earned boatloads of dollars through endorsements. He reportedly earned $2.5 million in endorsements in 2015.

In addition to all of that Pacquiao has enjoyed success as a player-coach in basketball for the Philippines Basketball Association. He's also an avid singer, performing music in English and tagalog:

For Pacquiao, boxing has not only rescued him from poverty, it has propelled him to elite social and political status.

Let's look at Pacquiao's steady rise to riches.

Pacquiao made his debut in 1995 against Edmund Enting Ignacio, when he earned $2, in a four-round fight.

He fought his first 23 fights in the Philippines and his pay hovered around the amount he made in his debut. Pacquiao impressed viewers with his buzzsaw-like fighting style, until his first loss, by knockout in his 12th pro fight. Pacquiao persevered, however, and won the WBC flyweight championship in his 25th pro fight, defeating Chatchai Sasakul in Thailand.

Pacquiao's wages slowly rose, and when he arrived stateside for his 2001 fight with Lehlo Ledwaba, Pacquiao earned $40,000 after a then-surprising 6th round TKO of the IBF super bantamweight champion. But his big break came when he faced Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera on Nov. 15, 2003 and throttled his foe en route to a stunning 11th round TKO. That fight reportedly earned him $300,000 and it was at this moment that the legend of Manny Pacquiao truly took off. His first seven-figure payday came when he stepped into the ring in his 44th fight against Erik Morales, where he earned $1.75 million and won a unanimous decision. Pacquiao's style of fighting made him an attraction and two fights later in November of 2006, in a rematch against Morales, Pacquiao earned $3.2 million for his TKO victory.

Then, like a snowball rolling downhill, Pacquiao took off.

In 2007, Pacquiao made $4.1 million in his two fights against Jorge Solis and Marco Antonio Barrera. His earnings would skyrocket a year later with fights against Juan Manuel Marquez ($4.5 million), David Diaz ($3.1 million) and the fight that transformed him into a boxing superstar, Oscar De La Hoya ($15 million guaranteed). De la Hoya was boxing's golden boy, but Pacquiao humbled him, making the Mexican-American quit on his stool after eight rounds. In 2008 he raked in $22.6 million, a 550 percent increase in a twelve month period.

It would take several fights before Pacquiao would earn De la Hoya level money, but the victory over the former Olympian put Pacquiao in a new position, able to to demand regular multimillion-dollar paydays against the sport's upper echelon.

Beginning with the De la Hoya fight, which he won by TKO, Pacquiao's earnings soared.

Dethroning the well-liked De la Hoya, put Pacquiao on a new level in terms of mainstream acceptance. Pacquiao never looked back. In 2009, fighting top names Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto, Pacquiao made $34 million, plus PPV bonus points.

In 2010, against Antonio Margarito and Joshua Clottey, Pacquiao kept pace, earning $32 million. This kid who started as a flyweight at 16 years old was now regularly making Mike-Tyson level money in every fight.

Pacquiao kept winning, increasing his value. In 2011, Pac-Man cashed in on $44 million against "Sugar" Shane Mosley and his biggest rival, Juan Manuel Marquez, winning both fights. But 2012 would prove to be a bad year for Pacquiao, and the beginning of his decline as the best in the world. Pacquiao earned $52 million in 2012, in two fights against Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. Bradley defeated Pacquiao by split decision, in a fight that most observers believed that Pacquiao should have won all judges' scorecards. But there was no dispute against Marquez; The Mexican fighter KO'd him with a dramatic right hand in Round 6.

Pacquiao returned a little less than a year later. He won the WBO welterweight title by outpointing Brandon Rios, before getting revenge against Bradley in April of 2014. For those two fights and a title defense against Chris Algerie in Nov. of 2014, Pacquiao earned a combined $63 million.

Fight promoters had wanted to book Pacquiao vs. Mayweather for years and when it finally happened it became the biggest fight in the history of the sport. About 4.4 million peopled watched the fight on PPV and Pacquiao made more money in one night than most other boxers had made during their careers. He pocketed $150 million in the fight that saw him lose a unanimous decision.

Earlier this year, Pacquiao earned $20 million for a third fight that he won against Bradley, setting the stage for Saturday night's fight against Jessie Vargas, which will result in another hefty pay day.

According to Forbes Magazine, he has also earned $2.5 million in endorsements in 2015

For serving in the Philippines senate and Congress, Pacquiao earns 204,000 pesos per year or just under $5,000 U.S. dollars.

Pacquiao has emerged as one of the most inspirational and successful athletes and role models of the generation. Pacquiao gives a high percentage of his earnings back to charity and the Filipino fighter has made a priority to help and serve his homeland.

If he dominates Vargas, Pacquiao could be in line for at least one more big payday in 2017 against Terence Crawford, Canelo Alvarez or a rematch with Floyd Mayweather .


Latest from our Creators