While Floyd Mayweather is currently preparing for the biggest boxing bout in history, the last man to beat him in the ring says he regrets it every day.
‘Money’ Mayweather is undefeated across 47 professional fights, but he did lose in the semi-finals of the 1996 Olympic Games as an amateur to Serafim Todorov.
The Bulgarian fighter was offered a professional contract after his win over Mayweather but turned it down. Instead, promoters turned their attention to the young ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’.
Nineteen years on, Mayweather is preparing for the richest bout in boxing history against Manny Pacquaio, while Todorov is living on a monthly pension of just €400 (£296).
Speaking to the New York Times, Todorov said:
They saw my style, they saw me in the ring, they saw that I was white. There will never be another white boxer like me, and they knew this. They wanted me to stay.
Without considering, I said ‘no’. I just said it quick, like that. ‘No’.
Instead, it all happened and I wanted to hope that things here could get better. It was stupid. I came back and I found hell.
Todorov lost in the Olympic final that year to Somluck Kamsing and stepped away from boxing completely.
Mayweather is now the richest sports star in the world but who knows how different the boxing landscape could have been if Todorov had agreed to turn pro.