Boxer Mayweather, currently serving a three-month jail sentence for domestic assault, made $85m (£54.25m) – a figure bolstered by promoting his own fights.
Golfing legend Woods dropped to third having received $59.4m (£37.92m) with boxer Manny Pacquiao rising to second on earnings of $62m (£39.57m).
David Beckham is eighth on the list, is the highest paid footballer with earnings of $46m (£29.36m).
Surprisingly, Olympic champion and world record-holding sprinter Usain Bolt, who is the most high-profile star of London 2012, was only 63rd with $20.3m (£12.96m) – just a quarter of Mayweather’s earnings.
Only two women made it on to the list. Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova is 26th at $27.9m (£17.79m), while Li Na, China’s 2011 French Open champion Li Na, is 81st at $18.4m (£11.72m) after becoming the first Asian-born player to win a Grand Slam singles crown.
Forbes list of highest paid sports stars
1 Floyd Mayweather $85m (£54.25m)
2 Manny Pacquiao $62m (£39.57m)
3 Tiger Woods $59.4m (£37.92m)
4 LeBron James $53m (£33.84m)
5 Roger Federer $52.7m (£33.64)
6 Kobe Bryant $52.3m (£33.38m)
7 Phil Mickelson $47.8m (£30.51m)
8 David Beckham $46m (£29.36m)
9 Cristiano Ronaldo $42.5m (£27.10m)
10 Peyton Manning $42.4m (£27.06m)