Sport

The incredible story of the last man to defeat Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather Jnr trains at his gym in Las Vegas.
Floyd Mayweather Jnr trains at his gym in Las Vegas. John Locher

FLOYD Mayweather Jnr is undefeated, right?

He is Mr 49-0, after all.

And yes, he owns a perfect record in professional boxing.

But he has been stopped before: eight times, in fact, according to his official amateur record.

And the last of those eight losses came in the semi-finals of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics at the hands of little-known Bulgarian boxer Serafim Todorov - who to this day, 21 years later, admits "it's possible, absolutely" that there were other forces at play behind his controversial 10-9 victory.

Mayweather was dismayed at the time - the result was considered controversial, and footage shows even the referee was miffed by the outcome and initially raised the hand of the then-19-year-old American before realising his error.

The fight was appealed by the US team, which believed the result had been influenced by veteran Bulgarian boxing official Emil Jetchev, then chairman of the international referees' and judges' commission.

"We all know I got ripped off," Mayweather said at the time.

"It's time for me to turn professional. I can't deal with amateur boxing anymore."

He hasn't lost since.

More recently, Mayweather looks back on the loss as the turning point of his career.

"I'm happy with how the result went. I'm really happy because that made me strive and work hard to get to where I'm at today," he said in 2015.

 

Floyd Mayweather Jnr in Los Angeles ahead of his mega-fight with Conor McGregor.
Floyd Mayweather Jnr in Los Angeles ahead of his mega-fight with Conor McGregor. gotpap/STAR MAX/IPx

Incredibly, Todorov says his victory was the beginning of the end for him as a boxer.

"I wanted to hope that things here could get better," he told the New York Times in 2015.

"It was stupid. I came back and I found hell."

Mayweather, of course, would on to become one of boxing's most decorated fighters - earning hundreds of millions in prizemoney along the way.

Todorov, by comparison, has not fared so well.

And as Mayweather prepares to bring up an undefeated half-century of victories, with Sunday's megafight set to deliver a reported $US350 million for the American regardless of its outcome, Todorov likely won't give the biggest boxing event of the year a skerrick of attention.

As revealed in the extraordinary New York Times piece in 2015, in the build-up to Mayweather's fight with Manny Pacquaio, Todorov lives in relative anonymity in small Bulgarian town on a modest pension without a professional boxing career behind him.

 

Somluck Kamsing of Thailand celebrates after his gold medal victory against Serafim Todorov of Bulgaria in the 57kg boxing final at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Somluck Kamsing of Thailand celebrates after his gold medal victory against Serafim Todorov of Bulgaria in the 57kg boxing final at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Al Bello

Todorov, now 48, went on to lose the gold medal bout in Atlanta to Thailand's Somluck Kamsing in a fight he thinks was rigged - a fix which, he alleges, was orchestrated by Jetchev.

"And after that match, everything went downhill in my life," Todorov told CNN.

Disillusioned, he attempted to walk away from Bulgarian boxing.

But a switch to fight for Turkey was quashed, Todorov believes, by Jetchev.

At the age of 28, refusing to represent Bulgaria, Todorov hung up the gloves.

But with one clear legacy: as the last man to take down Floyd Mayweather Jnr.

The fight is available to watch in Australia via Foxtel's pay-per-view channel, Main Event. Customers can order the fight for a $59.95, with coverage starting at 11am on Sunday. ORDER HERE

Topics:  floyd mayweather serafim todorov

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