Sport

Who were the highest-paid athletes over the last year?

It was billed as the Fight of the Century and, while it's debatable whether it lived up to that in sporting terms, it certainly delivered for the bank balances of the two men involved.

In Forbes' annual list of the highest-paid athletes of the last 12 months, the two warriors Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio came out punching with a classic one-two: Mayweather triumphing once again with $300m, compared to Manny's $160m, which at least must have been some comfort after being outpointed in Las Vegas in May.

Discover who else made the top 10 - and how they did it - by viewing the gallery below.

(Images: Getty)

  • Who were the highest-paid athletes over the last year?

    Floyd Mayweather

    Salary/Winnings: $285m
    Sponsorships: $15m
    Total Earnings: $300m

    How he did it: a new record for athlete earnings, beating Tiger Woods' $115m in 2008, there was, obviously, May's superfight, but also endorsements with Hublot, FanDuel and Burger King, plus earnings from his previous fight against Marcos Maidana last September.

  • Who were the highest-paid athletes over the last year? 1

    Manny Pacquiao

    Salary/Winnings: $148m
    Sponsorships: $12m
    Total Earnings: $160m

    How he did it: $125m from his ultimately unsuccessful fight against Mayweather, another $23m from his November bout against Chris Algieri, plus a further $12m from sponsorship from the likes of Nike, Foot Locker, Wonderful Pistachios, Nestle's Butterfinger.

  • Who were the highest-paid athletes over the last year? 2

    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Salary/Winnings: $52.6m
    Sponsorships: $27m
    Total Earnings: $79.6m

    How he did it: Despite his very best efforts, he may be commonly regarded as the second-best footballer in the world after Lionel Messi, but when it comes to money, the Portuguese is on top. As well as over $50m in salary from Real Madrid, he also has a lucrative sponsorship with Nike, as well as his very own CR7 underwear and shirt brand.

  • Who were the highest-paid athletes over the last year? 3

    Lionel Messi

    Salary/Winnings: $51.8m
    Sponsorships: $22m
    Total Earnings: $73.8m

    How he did it: Similar wages to Ronaldo, plus endorsements with Adidas and Samsung, and the little genius is rolling it in, just like he does the ball on the field.

  • Who were the highest-paid athletes over the last year? 4

    Roger Federer

    Salary/Winnings: $9m
    Sponsorships: $58m
    Total Earnings: $67m

    How he did it: While tennis may not pay the lucrative sums of the other sports, Roger really rackets in up off the court from deals with Nike, Rolex, Credit Suisse and Mercedes-Benz. He went from a lowly 7 back to to number 2 by the end of the year; despite being in the most competitive era of tennis ever, he's still in there fighting.

  • Who were the highest-paid athletes over the last year? 5

    LeBron James

    Salary/Winnings: $20.8m
    Sponsorships: $44m
    Total Earnings: $64.8m

    How he did it: His summer 2014 decision on whether to leave Miami or not was one of sport's biggest stories and, appropriately, his new deal upon returning to Cleveland rewarded him appropriately, with $20.8m a year reaching his pocket. However, he earned double that from sponsorship deals with Kia Motors, Nike, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Beats by Dre, Upper Deck, Tencent and Audemars Piguet.

  • Who were the highest-paid athletes over the last year? 6

    Kevin Durant

    Salary/Winnings: $19.1m
    Sponsorships: $35m
    Total Earnings: $54.1m

    How he did it: Like LeBron, Durant earns virtually twice as much from sponsorship as he does from his 'basic' $19.1m salary from Oklahoma City Thunder, coining it in with deals from Nike, BBVA, Sprint, Sonic, Panini, 2K Sports and Skullcandy.

  • Who were the highest-paid athletes over the last year? 7

    Phil Mickelson

    Salary/Winnings: $2.8m
    Sponsorships: $48m
    Total Earnings: $50.8m

    How he did it: If you really want to talk about sponsorship, then just take a look at golf. Michelson hasn't won a PGA title since 2013 and banked 'just' $2.8m from prize money from June 2014-June 2015, yet earns around $48m from deals with Callaway, Barclays, KPMG, Exxon Mobil, Rolex and Amgen.

  • Who were the highest-paid athletes over the last year? 8

    Tiger Woods

    Salary/Winnings: $0.6m
    Sponsorships: $50m
    Total Earnings: $50.6m

    How he did it: Well, it wasn't from playing good golf. Despite his well-publicised struggles on the golf course, he still racked up $50m in endorsement deals; although, of course, this is still well down on his earnings before 'those' personal issues came to the fore (pun intended).

  • Who were the highest-paid athletes over the last year? 9

    Kobe Bryant

    Salary/Winnings: $23.5m
    Sponsorships: $26m
    Total Earnings: $49.5m

    How he did it: Kobe had the highest salary in the NBA for the fifth year in a row in 2014-15. However, off the court he isn't bringing in quite the sums of James or Durant, although this is seemingly a consequence of becoming an owner of businesses rather than utilising straight endorsement deals. Even so, not bad overall, you must say.