David Haye was one of the top earners in British sport when he reigned as the world heavyweight champion.
The Londoner won the WBA belt in 2009 when he outpointed the giant Nikolai Valuev in Nuremberg to become a two-weight champ.
Haye, who had previously been the unified cruiserweight ruler, saw his earnings rocket as he made waves in boxing’s most lucrative division.
Haye, now 37, made the first defence of his title against John Ruiz in Manchester five months after his win over Valuev.
The American challenger was knocked down twice in the first round, once in the fifth, again in the sixth, and was finally stopped in the ninth sesson.
Haye is believed to have picked up £1million for his efforts – but that was made to look like pocket change when he agreed a deal to take on fellow Brit Audley Harrison.
Former Olympic champion Harrison had floundered in his career and grabbed the chance of a world title shot – but he barely threw a punch as he was KO’d inside three rounds.
Having barely broken sweat, Haye banked a cool £5m for less than eight minutes of work.
Victory over Harrison catapulted Haye into a unification clash with Wladimir Klitschko in 2011, but after promising to dethrone the long-reigning champion, the Brit produced a disappointing display in Germany.
Having been dropped in the penultimate round, Haye lost on points and later blamed a broken toe for his defeat.
But if he was disappointed with his performance, he had the consolation of a £10m cheque burning a hole in his pocket.
Despite retiring after his meeting with Klitschko, Haye returned to the ring for a grudge fight against Dereck Chisora.
Haye needed just five rounds to KO his fellow Londoner in front of 30,000 fans at West Ham’s Upton Park – and collected £3m for his efforts.
Since that 2012 summer showdown, Haye has struggled with injuries, fighting just three times.
He banked around £500,000 for his facile victories over the limited Mark de Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj.
But he was back to a seven-figure pay day for his defeat by Tony Bellew last year – he earned £4.2m compared to Bellew’s £2.8m.
And he will likely collect a similar amount on May 5 when the pair meet again at the O2 in London.
Over his career, Haye has earned more than £25m.
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