Hamed top of British earners

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The Independent Online
Naseem Hamed's earnings are only just the start of the biggest financial success story in British sport. Hamed's manager Brendan Ingle reckons the boxer will reach the nine-figure mark before he is finished punching for huge pay days.

The World Boxing Organisation featherweight champion's income from in and out of the ring in 1997 - $12m (pounds 7.5m) has surpassed that of Lennox Lewis, $9.7m (pounds 6.1m), according to the American magazine Forbes.

"I said three or four years ago that Naz will earn pounds 40m and all he's got to do now is keep winning," Ingle said. "And with the pay-per-view market and Frank Warren promoting him, there's nothing to stop him earning pounds 100m. Warren has done a fantastic job. The heavyweight champion [Lewis] should really be ahead, but Naz has passed him under Warren."

A recent poll in a British newspaper put Lewis as the No 1 earner with Hamed in second place, but Hamed's commercial interests are now huge.

The Forbes list, headed by the basketball player Michael Jordan with $78.3 (pounds 48.9m), puts Hamed at No 22 and the WBC champion, Lewis, in 35th place.

the money men

Total income ($)

1 Michael Jordan (basketball) 78.3

2 Evander Holyfield (boxing) 54.3

3 Oscar de la Hoya (boxing) 38.0

4 Michael Schumacher (mot rac) 35.0

5 Mike Tyson (boxing) 27.0

6 Tiger Woods (golf) 26.1

7 Shaquille O'Neal (basketball) 25.4

8 Dale Earnhardt (motor racing) 19.1

9 Joe Sakic (ice hockey) 17.9

10 Grant Hill (basketball) 17.0

11 Greg Norman (golf) 16.2

12 Arnold Palmer (golf) 16.1

13 Horace Grant (basketball) 14.9

14 George Foreman (boxing) 14.7

15 Pete Sampras (tennis) 14.5

16 Andre Agassi (tennis) 14.1

17 Cal Ripken Jnr (baseball) 13.2

18 David Robinson (basketball) 13.2

19 Ken Griffey Jnr (baseball) 13.0

20 Alonzo Mourning (basketball) 13.0

21 Michael Chang (tennis) 12.0

22 Naseem Hamed (boxing) 12.0

23 Juwan Howard (basketball) 11.2

24 Gary Payton (basketball) 11.2

25 Greg Maddux (baseball) 11.0

26 Hakeem Olajuwon (basketball) 11.0

27 Dennis Rodman (basketball) 11.0

28 Wayne Gretzky (ice hockey) 10.9

29 Mike Piazza (baseball) 10.6

30 Reggie Miller (basketball) 10.4

35 Lennox Lewis (boxing) 9.7

All figures in millions (total includes salaries and endorsements). Source: Forbes magazine