Boxers aren’t the only professional athletes to end up losing their fortunes and health, but they’re certainly among the most visible. For some reason pugilists have a habit of financial and physical difficulty after hanging up their gloves. Perhaps one of the reasons is because there’s no players’ union in the sport and pension plans aren’t available to most participants. However, after making millions of dollars during their careers you’d think most of them should be able to sustain themselves for the rest of their lives.
This isn’t the case though as several of the world’s top boxers have found themselves in trouble over the years. Most of them manage to dig themselves out of it, but some former boxers aren’t as lucky. As well as losing their fortunes some boxers lose their mental and/or physical health. These former warriors are arguably worse off than their counterparts who have blown their earnings. Those boxers who have blown millions of dollars often lose some of their cash to shady promoters as well as in divorce settlements and by paying child support.
Some guys just like the lifestyle that the fame and fortune brings them and they end up spending the majority of their bank accounts on drugs, alcohol, women, cars, and houses. They’re reckless with their spending and sooner or later it catches up with them. Other boxers find themselves owing back taxes to the government and then returning to the ring to earn the money to pay off the debt. There are cases of boxers going from rags to riches back to rags again, but on the bright side some of them have fought their way out of trouble and are now leading comfortable lives. This list of boxers consists of those who have lost either their money, health, mental health or a combination of the three.
15 Frank Bruno
14 Joe Louis
13 Ricky Burns
12 Rocky Lockridge
11 Leon Spinks
10 Dariusz Michalczewski
9 Iran Barkley
8 Wilfredo Benitez
7 Riddick Bowe
Riddick ‘Big Daddy’ Bowe of Brooklyn, New York is a former undisputed world heavyweight champion who was beaten just once in his pro career. The 47-year-old year-old retired with a record of 43-1 with 33 KOs and earned an estimated $50 with his fists. Bowe’s only defeat came at the hands of Evander Holyfield, but he avenged it by beating Holyfield twice. Bowe spent most of his money on family members, friends, cars, and homes and at one point had to sell his boxing memorabilia at flea markets. Bowe claims some of his money was lost due to bad advice from business advisers. He won the silver medal at the 1988 Olympics when he was stopped in the second round by Lennox Lewis. He is one of 13 children and joined the Marines after retiring. However, he quit three days later.
6 Felix Trinidad
5 Trevor Berbick
Former heavyweight champion Trevor Berbick was a boxer who seemed to lose the plot somewhere along the way. Berbick beat Muhammad Ali by decision in Ali’s final bout and was later knocked out by Mike Tyson in 1986 when Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champ at the age of 20. Berbick had won the WBC crown earlier that year by a decision over Pinklon Thomas. He retired with a record of 49-11-1 with 33 KOs in 2000.
4 Edwin Valero
3 Tommy Hearns
International Boxing Hall of Fame member Tommy Hearns is one of the best boxers in history and participated in some epic battles with the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Wilfredo Benitez, Marvin Hagler, Virgil Hill and Iran Barkley. The 56-year-old from Memphis, Tennessee retired in 2006 with a mark of 61-5-1 along with 48 KOs under his belt. He also managed to win eight world championships in six different weight divisions and made about $40 million during his career.
2 Evander Holyfield
1 Mike Tyson
‘Iron’ Mike Tyson retired from boxing as a former undisputed heavyweight champion with a record of 50-6 along with 44 KOs. It’s estimated that his fortune reached close to $400 million and he blew most of it on drugs, alcohol, cars, homes, divorces and child support. The 48-year-old from Brooklyn, New York was one of the highest-paid athletes of his generation and also made a ton of money via endorsements. Tyson claims his former promoter Don King took him for about $100 million, but the pair settled out of court in 2003 for just $14 million. He filed for bankruptcy because of his debts and took fights to pay off the IRS. Over the past few years Tyson has been able to earn money by writing his autobiography, appearing in movies and starring in a one-man, Broadway style show.
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