The Two Biggest, Most Expensive Belts Ever Seen in Boxing

Boxing is a sport filled with big egos, with big prizes to match. That’s why it was the first sport to offer a prize belt, a tradition that still carries on today with modern boxing, MMA, and wrestling sports outfits. Here we have a rundown of the biggest, most expensive prize belts that have entered the ring, and the historic fights that fought for them.

The Priceless Money Belt – Mayweather vs McGregor

In 2017, Conor McGregor was at the top of his career in the UFC when Floyd Mayweather, Jr. came out of retirement to face him. It was a rare, historic bout between a career UFC fighter and one of the world’s biggest boxing names. To celebrate the occasion, the World Boxing Council (WBC) commissioned the Money Belt.

The Money Belt was made with alligator leather, 1.5 kilograms of 24-karat gold, over 3,000 diamonds, 600 sapphires, and 300 emeralds. On being revealed, it enamored boxing audiences. That’s not surprising, seeing as everyone can appreciate shiny gemstones and they’re often used to market other products or to theme iGaming slots. That can be seen with the Starburst slot game, where players arrange rows of sapphires and emerald symbols on its reels. On the 24th of August, 2017, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman revealed the same jewels lining the Money Belt, just two days before the fight itself.

When asked how much the belt cost, Sulaiman laughed and said: “No idea. All I know is that it’s the most expensive sports trophy ever in history.” He then clarified that most of the cost came from the gold and diamonds, specifically. It was named the Money Belt after the bout itself, which came to be known as “The Money Fight” due to its historic nature and how much money was on the line for both fighters. “The fight was made because of money, so we have the Money Belt,” Sulaiman explained. Of course, Money was also Mayweather Jr.’s nickname for the majority of his boxing career, so it was appropriate that he won the belt with a TKO in the 10th round.

The MayPac Emerald Belt – Mayweather vs Pacquiao

We know the Money Belt cost somewhere north of $1 million (£800,000) because our next entry is the WBC’s most expensive, before the Money Belt ever existed. That was the Emerald Belt, created for the 2015 clash between Manny Pacquiao and once again, Floyd Mayweather Jr. This was before Mayweather’s second retirement, before the McGregor fight called him back to the sport.

For the occasion, the WBC commissioned the Emerald Belt. Similarly to the Money Belt, the Emerald Belt uses the WBC’s signature green colour. It was a simpler design, almost identical to the WBC championship belt, except its gold medallion was replaced by over 3,000 emeralds instead. Naturally, that drove the price up to approximately $1 million. It also had less gold content than the Money Belt, though still enough to secure the Guinness World Record for most expensive boxing championship belt at the time. Since we don’t know how much the Money Belt cost, the Emerald Belt still holds that honour to this day.

If you remember the McGregor fight, you’ll probably remember that Mayweather stepped into the ring undefeated. That’s because he won this bout by unanimous decision after both fighters went all the way.

The WBC has promised to continue making custom belts to celebrate boxing’s most memorable bouts. That means we may see even more expensive, elaborate belts in the future. Outside of the ring, older belts have been sold for even more than the Money Belt or the Emerald Belt is worth. For example, Muhammad Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle belt was bought in 2022 for over $6 million (£4.8 million). However, part of that price tag comes from its historical value. In the future, we may see these belts enter the collector’s market where we’ll find out what they’re really worth.

Share this story

must see