This past weekend, Filipino boxer and politician Manny Pacquiao reportedly made nearly $30 million as he defended his WBO welterweight title against American Shane Mosley.
Asia's biggest sports icons are pulling in millions of dollars in endorsement fees and salaries and many have influence that reaches far beyond their respective sports.
We’ve put together a list of Asia’s 10 richest athletes taking into consideration their annual earnings from a mixture of sporting contracts, salary, endorsement deals and appearance fees. We used publicly available media sources such as Forbes, Sports Illustrated and Australia's Business Review Weekly.
Click ahead to find out which athletes are the richest in the Asia-Pacific region.
Posted: May 10, 2011
Daisuke Matsuzaka entered the American Major League in 2006 after pitching eight years in Japan’s major baseball league.
He signed a widely publicized six-year $52 million contract with the Boston Red Sox after the team out-bid other franchises.
An integral part of the 2007 World Series championship team, Matsuzaka was the first Japanese pitcher to start and win a game in the series’ history.
His popularity in Japan has continued to grow. Baseball players born between April 1980 and 1981 have been called the “Matsuzaka Generation.”
Sachin Tendulkar is an Indian sporting icon and considered one of the greatest cricket players of all time by many.
Arriving on the International cricket stage at age 16 in 1989, Tendulkar has gone on to break numerous batting records in test and one-day matches. He played a big part in India’s recent win in the 2011 Cricket World Cup, and at age 38, he shows no signs of slowing down.
Based on Indian media reports that detailed his income tax payments for 2009-2010, Tendulkar is estimated to have earned $9.7 million in the financial year.
Tendulkar represents 17 brands such as Coca-cola and Adidas, and continues to be plastered across billboards in India.
Women’s skating champion Kim Yu-Na was the first South Korean figure skater to win an Olympic gold medal in 2010.
At 20 years of age, Kim is one of the highest paid female athletes in the world, according to Forbes magazine.
Kim started skating at age seven and went on to become the youngest winner of the South Korean Championships at age 12.
The skater is a huge media figure in South Korea, and has appeared in commercials for Samsung Electronics, while her sponsors range from Nike to Hyundai. Kim has also collaborated with several high-profile Korean singers to further her singing career.
Captain of India’s cricket team, Mahendra Singh (MS) Dhoni, is considered the world’s richest cricketer, according to Forbes Magazine in 2009, which estimated his annual income at $10 million.
Dhoni was added to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world after India won the 2011 World Cricket Cup under his leadership.
In India, Dhoni is the face of about 25 brands. Although, it's hard to estimate Dhoni’s total endorsement income, experts estimate that he charges over $1.3 million per sponsorship deal.
The only competitive sailor to make our list, Russell Coutts’ yachting career spans three decades.
A gold medal winner at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, Coutts has been honored with several awards over the decades such as World Sailor of the Year.
Coutts is the CEO of Oracle Racing and won the America’s Cup for New Zealand for the first time 16 years ago. He holds the record for the most wins as a skipper in the tournament’s history.
Coutts earned $10 million in 2010, according to ESPN.
The first Australian player ever to be drafted number one in the NBA draft, Andrew Bogut takes the fifth spot on Asia-Pacific’s highest earning list.
Born to Croatian parents in a suburb of Melbourne, Bogut grew up playing basketball along with other sports such as Aussie rules football, and tennis.
Bogut attended the University of Utah and was drafted two years later in 2005 as a centre for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Bogut made $A12.6 million in 2010, according to Australia's Business Review Weekly (BRW).
*Based on average rate for USD/AUD for 2010.
Mark Webber is Australia’s highest earning athlete taking in A$13.4 million last year, according to Australia's BRW.
The Formula One driver had a breakthrough year in 2010, winning four races for his Red Bull team.
Webber started out racing motorcycles, but took up karting when he was just 14, eventually leading to his car-racing career.
Australian media are reporting that Webber may join Ferrari next year.
*Based on average rate for USD/AUD for 2010.
Yao Ming is considered NBA’s tallest basketball player at seven feet, and six inches in height.
Yao’s annual salary from the Houston Rockets is listed at $17.7 million, but he made a total of $34.3 million in 2010, according to Sports Illustrated.
With sponsorships with several companies such as McDonalds, and Apple, Yao is China’s richest celebrity. In 2008, Ming reportedly made over $50 million.
A documentary film titled “The Year of the Yao” was released in 2004 about Yao’s first year in the NBA.
Japan’s Ichiro Suzuki climbed up the ranks from 15th in the world to become the sixth highest earning international (Non-U.S.) athlete in 2010.
According to Sports Illustrated, Ichiro made $37 million last year as the right fielder for the American Major League Baseball team Seattle Mariners.
Entering American baseball in 2001, he was one of only two Japanese-born field position players in the major leagues. Ichiro has won several awards and broken many records over his 10-year career, including the record for the most hits in a single-season.
Leaving home at age 14, Manny Pacquiao’s improverished beginnings led him to start his professional boxing career only two years later.
At the time, Pacquiao was seven pounds under the minimum weight division of 105 pounds, but he later admitted to the media that he put weights in his pockets to make the class. Going on to win a historic 11 world titles, Pacquiao has been titled “Fighter of the Decade,” by Boxing Writer’s Association of America (BWAA).
Pacquiao was elected to the Philippines House of Representatives last year and is a member of the country’s Congress.
In 2010, Pacquiao earned $38 million, according to Sports Illustrated. He amassed most of his wealth from two fights, along with his acting and singing career.
He is the fifth highest earning international athlete in the world.