Boxing: Floyd Mayweather tops Forbes' list of highest-paid sports stars of the decade

Retired boxer Floyd Mayweather has topped the Forbes list of highest earning sports stars of the decade.

Despite fighting on only 10 occasions since 2010, the former five division world champion raked in an astonishing US$915m (NZ$1.37b).

Over half of that sum came from the 42-year-old's fights with Manny Pacquiao in May 2015, and against Conor McGregor in August 2017. 

His win over McGregor was the richest in boxing history, earning Mayweather an estimated US$433 (NZ$652m).

The American has been out of competitive action since then, although he banked US$9m (NZ$13m) from an exhibition contest against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa last December.

Last month, Mayweather said he plans to come out of retirement in 2020.

Mayweather topped the rich list ahead of footballers Cristiano Ronaldo US$800m (NZ$1.2b) and Lionel Messi US$750m (NZ$1.13b), with NBA superstar LeBron James US$680m (NZ$1.02b) and tennis legend Roger Federer US$640m (NZ$964m) rounding out the top five.

Tiger Woods was sixth on Forbes' list
Tiger Woods was sixth on Forbes' list Photo credit: AAP

Golfers Tiger Woods US$615m (NZ926m) and Phil Mikelson US$480m (NZ$723m), boxer  Pacquiao US$435m (NZ$655m), basketballer Kevin Durrant US$425m (NZ$640m), and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton US$400m (NZ$602m) completed the list. 

On social media, Mayweather wrote: "Congratulations to every athlete on this list."

Forbes' criteria stated their list looked at athletes salaries, prize money, bonuses, endorsements, appearance fees and licensing income, while excluding earling during their retirement years keeping NBA stars like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan out of the top 10. 

Tennis star Serena Williams, who will play at the 2020 ASB Classic in Auckland, was the only woman among the 40 highest-paid athletes of the decade, earning US$215m (NZ$324m). 

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