Pacquiao is ESPN’s 35th most famous athlete; Ronaldo tops list
Filipino boxing icon and Senator-elect Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao recently ranked 35th in ESPN’s “World Fame 100,” which listed the world’s most popular athletes based on combined salary and endorsements, social media following and Google search popularity.
The international sports network pegged Pacquiao’s earnings from boxing at $148 million and endorsements at $12 million. He has around 10.6 million followers on Facebook and 33,400 on Twitter.
“The great eight-weight world champ is carving out a career as a politician in the Philippines—a fairly clumsy one so far if his anti-gay comments are anything to go by—but it’s a fair bet that, as a new senator there, he will not have the power to change society in the way he has done as a boxer,” ESPN said of the 37-year-old Pacquiao, who made it to the “Magic 12” in the senatorial elections last May 9.
“How’s that? Well, on the day of Pacman’s fights, they say, the crime rate drops to zero because the streets are deserted with millions having switched off their lives and switched on their TVs to watch him,” it added.
ESPN said Pacquiao’s “peak moment” was when he beat Miguel Cotto in 2009. “The supreme night for the supreme champ came in 2009, when he turned the ferocious Miguel Cotto into a bloodied wreck with a 12th-round stoppage to become the first man to win world titles in seven weight divisions,” it said.
Pacquiao’s nemesis Floyd Mayweather Jr. ranked 26th.
Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo topped ESPN’s list of most famous athletes, followed by Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lebron James, Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, Barcelona star Neymar and Switzerland’s tennis superstar Roger Federer.
Rounding up the top 10 were Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, golf superstar Tiger Woods, Indian cricket star Virat Kohli, Real Madrid’s Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez and Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal.
Russian tennis superstar Maria Sharapova emerged as the most famous woman athlete on the 18th spot, despite being involved in a doping controversy. Last March, Sharapova admitted testing positive for meldonium, an addition to the list of prohibited substances for athletes.
Other notable athletes on the list include Kobe Bryant (11), Usain Bolt (15), Novak Djokovic (16), Ronda Rousey (23), Serena Williams (25), Andy Murray (31) and Stephen Curry (34). RAM/rga