The list is dominated by athletes from America's NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball competitions, although the top five athletes - Mayweather, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Conor McGregor and Neymar - are from either football or combat sports.
According to Forbes website www.forbes.com: "Athletes from 11 different sports made the cut".
For the first time ever female athletes are in the mix year, with Serena Williams dropping out all together after being ranked 51st last time out. Forbes says 40 basketball players were among the top 100 thanks to a "soaring salary cap triggered by the NBA's $24 billion TV contract".
American business magazine Forbes released its annual report of the highest paid athletes in sport and not a single woman made the list, a first since 2010.
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NBA's top earner LeBron James banked United States dollars 85.5 million, including endorsements, over the last 12 months to rank sixth among the highest-paid athletes.
Ronaldo ($US108 million; $142 milion) fell to third, behind soccer rival Lionel Messi ($US111 million $146 million).
Messi's annual salary and bonus exceeded $80 million, making him the highest-paid player on the pitch this year.
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Ronaldo's $108 million haul over the past 12 months trails only Mayweather Jr. and Messi. He jumps 13 spots to fifth with an income of $90 million, including $19 million from endorsement partners.
But the most likely bet of an Australian earning a place in Forbes athletes rich list is basketballer Ben Simmons who in 2017 earned AU$14.35m at just 21 meaning he has time up his sleeve to get a few more big cheques under his belt.
The top 100 athletes earned a total of $3.8bn, up 23% from previous year.
Forbes estimated that in the last 12 months as of June 1, she earned $18 million, which put her below the 100th athlete on the 2018 list ― National Basketball Association player Nicolas Batum, who earned $22.9 million.
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American golfer Phil Mickelson (47) was the oldest athlete in the top 100 with earnings of $41.3m while Greek basketballer Giannis Antetokounmpo (23) was the youngest with earnings of $35.5m.