Mayweather World's Highest Paid Athlete

Lionel Messi in second spot

Mayweather World's Highest Paid Athlete AAP

Retired boxer Floyd Mayweather has reclaimed first place from football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in Forbes' 2018 list of the world's 100 highest-paid athletes. 

The 41-year-old American's earnings from last year's fight with Irishman Conor McGregor made him the world's best paid for the fourth time in seven years, with $US 285 million ($A 373 million).

Real Madrid striker Ronaldo fell to third on $US 108 million ($A 141 million), behind soccer rival Lionel Messi on $US 111 million ($A 145 million).

Only the top three had earnings surpassing $US 100 million ($A 131 million). 

Irish mixed martial artist McGregor on $US 99 million ($A 130 million) and Paris St Germain's Neymar on $US 90 million ($A 118 million) were fourth and fifth respectively, but for the first time since 2010 there was not a single woman on the list.

Serena Williams, winner of 23 grand slam tennis singles titles, was the sole female representative last year but she has since largely been inactive owing to pregnancy and giving birth to her daughter Alexis in September.

Though still substantial, her $US 18 million ($A 24 million) off-court earnings from sponsors were insufficient for her to make the top 100.

LeBron James (basketball), Roger Federer (tennis), Stephen Curry (basketball), Matt Ryan (American football) and Matthew Stafford (American football) rounded out the top 10. 

Barcelona's Argentine star Messi narrowly surpassed Ronaldo after signing a new contract at Barcelona, but the Portuguese soccer star, Mayweather and golfer Tiger Woods - this year ranked 16th - remained the only three to top the best-paid list during the past 18 years.

Fourth-placed McGregor's earnings represented almost double that of four-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton who earned $US 51 million ($A 67 million).


Forbes' Top 10

1.Floyd Mayweather, $US 285 million ($A 373 million)

2.Lionel Messi, $US 111 million ($A 145 million)

3.Cristiano Ronaldo, $US 108 million ($A 141 million)

4.Conor McGregor, $US 99 million ($A 130 million)

5.Neymar, $US 90 million ($A 118 million)

6.LeBron James, $US 85.5 million ($A 112 million)

7.Roger Federer, $US 77.2million ($A 101 million)

8.Stephen Curry, $US 76.9 million ($A 101 million)

9.Matt Ryan, $US 67.3 million ($A 88 million)

10.Matthew Stafford, $US 59.5 million ($A 78 million)



16.Tiger Woods, $US 43.3 million ($A 57 million)

45.Usain Bolt, $US 31 million ($A 41 million)

83.Virat Kohli, $US 24 million ($A 31 million)