How to Become a Professional Boxer
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Whether you call them boxers, fighters, or pugilists, professional boxers live a glamorous life. Million-dollar purses, lucrative endorsement deals, and your name in lights are just some of the benefits of working as a professional boxer. But many of the most glamorous aspects of being a professional boxer only apply to the top-tier of professional fighting. There are many professional boxers whose name most people don't know.
Learning how to become a professional boxer is a matter of learning what sorts of training and education a boxer needs and conditioning your body to perform as a top notch athlete.
How Much do Professional Boxers Earn?
The biggest draw of any professional sport is the huge salary and name recognition that come with being an athlete with a household name. How much do professional boxers earn?
The amount earned by a professional boxer is determined by a contract made between a boxer's manager and the event promoter. Boxing matches are sporting events and come with all of the promotional and managerial considerations of an NFL game or a match in professional soccer.
The biggest names in boxing are capable of earning millions of dollars for a single boxing match. That money comes from promotional tie-ins, percentages earned from Pay-Per-View and other TV deals, and money paid to the boxer by the event's promoter. Here's an example: Floyd Mayweather, one of the top professional boxers in the world, made somewhere between $10 and $12 million for his last fight. That's a huge sum of money for a single event, and most professional boxers don't earn anywhere near that amount. The money came from the event promoter, a percentage he earned from the Pay-Per-View provider, and money from his endorsement deals.
Remember that professional boxers have a team behind them helping them train, prepare for fights, stay fit, eat right, and schedule boxing events. All of those people take a piece of the pie, especially the boxer's manager who may earn as much as 20% or more of a boxer's income. After paying trainers, nutritionists, and other low-level employees who support the fighter, he may make only about 50% or less of the amount he technically made for showing up and fighting.
Professional boxers whose names aren't well known, and who fight in preliminary bouts before the main event, make considerably less than boxers with recognizable names. That's because they don't earn a percentage of Pay-Per-View events, probably don't have lucrative endorsement deals, and are only there to shore up a boxing match's ticket. A professional boxer making his fighting debut may only take home a few thousand dollars, hoping that his performance will earn recognition and he can move his way up the ranks to earning more money.
Truth be told, many professional boxers struggling to make it are paid per round of the scheduled fight. A low-tier boxer fighting for HBO events may only earn $1,000 per round. These boxers generally support themselves with part-time or full-time jobs until they become well known enough to earn larger salaries for fighting events.
Training and Educating Yourself to Become a Professional Boxer
We all know that professional boxers, like any professional athletes, must train and strengthen their bodies. It may seem counter-intuitive, but wannabe professional boxers should get some education along the way as well. Here's why.
A professional boxer will only earn money if he is successful and promoted well. To earn million dollar purses, a professional boxer's body must be in top shape and they must be able to win a lot of lower tier fights. Training in dance, of all things, is excellent training for any person who aspires to be a professional athlete. You wouldn't believe the number of pro athletes who trained in ballet. Why ballet?
Dancing ballet is all about physical strength, balance, and agility. If a professional boxer can learn to be agile and control their muscles well enough to dance ballet, those skills will translate into the ring. Its funny to imagine Mike Tyson dancing ballet, but I guarantee that many top notch professional boxers have received some training in dance. College football players often take college dance classes to improve their agility, stay trim, and even build leg muscle.
Other college-level classes that a professional boxer should take include business, theater or fine arts, and even training in sports management. A professional boxer with some training in business will be more likely to stay on top of his money rather than go broke, as Mike Tyson learned after he mis-spent his millions in the 80s and 90s. Training in theater or the fine arts is important for a professional boxer if he wants to perform in commercials, get endorsement deals, or talk to the media without sounding like an idiot. If a wannabe boxer earns a degree in sports management, he or she may have a career after their body can't take the punishment of fighting anymore.
Professional Boxer Qualifications
The only true qualifications for becoming a professional boxer are the right body size and type, the right physical skills and ability, and training in gyms starting as a teenager. It would be difficult to start a career as a professional boxer if you've never trained in a boxing gym before.
But boxers that want to earn top tier professional money should also take some classes in performance (think of Manny Pacquiao's performance in those awesome HP TouchPad commercials), dance (to keep their bodies nimble), and perhaps sports management if they want a career after their boxing time is finished.
Steps to Becoming a Professional Boxer
Here are the steps to becoming a professional boxer:
1. Learn to fight from a good gym. Spar and learn the art of boxing from a young age.
2. Make a name for yourself in the amateur boxing circuit or training as an Olympic boxer.
3. Go professional by hiring a manager and scheduling your professional debut.
There's not much more to becoming a professional boxer. If you have the skills, you could earn million dollar purses, drive fancy cars, marry beautiful women, and fight only three or four times a year.
If you want to have a career after your boxing days are over, earning a college degree you can use once your body gives out is the best way to insure your financial future after your boxing career is through.