The American five-weight world champion, who raked in the vast sum from just two fights because he also promotes his bouts, beat Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, who pocketed £50m, into second place.
Basketball’s LeBron James was third with £45m, according to figures for the 12 months to 1 June and compiled by magazine Forbes, ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (£41m) and NBA superstar Kobe Bryant (£39m).
Bale pocketed £23m following his £85m transfer from Tottenham to Real, of which £16m came from wages and £7m from endorsements such as deals with Adidas and BT.
BEST OF BRITISH
14. Gareth Bale football £23m
19. Lewis Hamilton £20m
35. Rory McIlroy £15m
43. Wayne Rooney £15m
86. Steven Gerrard £12m