Even if you are not a boxing fan, you have heard of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. The boxer has an undefeated professional record and has been featured on several lists of the richest athletes of all time. He also made headlines after pleading for an indictment in 2011.
Although Mayweather is a notorious name, fewer people have heard of Serafim Todorov. But the Bulgarian holds a special distinction: he is the last person to beat Mayweather in a fight.
On August 2, 1996, Todorov defeated Mayweather by a 10-9 decision in a very controversial bout. The two met in the semifinals of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mayweather ultimately lost, although the immediate reaction was that maybe he should have won. Even the match referee by mistake raised Mayweather’s hand in the air in victory as Todorov was announced as the winner.
Since that fight, Mayweather and Todorov’s paths have diverged. Mayweather won his first professional fight later that year. He built a boxing career that spanned more than 20 years, retiring with a perfect professional record of 50-0 after beating Conor McGregor in 2017.
Mayweather has also made a ton of money along the way. The McGregor fight alone made Mayweather $ 300 million. During his career, he generated approximately 24 million pay-per-view purchases and $ 1.67 billion in revenue. Between fights and endorsements, he won nearly a billion dollars.
Meanwhile, Todorov’s victory proved to be his last career highlight. He won the world championships three times as an amateur, but settled for a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics. After his fight with Mayweather, Todorov rejected an offer from a group of American boxing promoters. He believed he would have received more money from the Bulgarian Boxing Federation if he had won the gold medal.
However, his home nation barely supported him and he tried to represent Turkey at the 1997 World Amateur Boxing Championships. Todorov and Turkey had struck a deal that would have paid him $ 1 million, but he failed.
Todorov’s amateur boxing career ended in 2003 and he has kept a relatively quiet life ever since. He and his wife both lost their jobs in supermarkets and sausage factories. Now Todorov lives on a pension it pays $ 435 per month.
It’s a scary story and a reminder that the world of professional sports can be extremely painful. One moment you’re on top of the world, and the next you’re barely scratching.