Floyd Mayweather is one of the richest men in sports. His May 2nd bout against Manny Pacquiao will likely he earn him more for a nights work than most other athletes can earn in an entire career. He is undefeated as a professional boxer, but he did lose a very controversial bout in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. But the man that beat him, Bulgaria's Serafim Todorov, has had anything but a charmed life since that fateful event.
The New York Times wrote a fascinating article about the life of Todorov, now 45, since the fallout from his win. The judges in the bout were highly suspect, something that even Todorov doesn't disagree with. He explains that the Bulgarian official that was in charge of the referees and judges commission may have influenced the decision. And ironically, Todorov believes it was the same man that cost him the gold medal.
After Todorov turned down a pro contract, a decision he called the biggest mistake of his life, the official also nixed a move to Turkey for the fighter to represent that country instead. So he basically quit.
As Bulgaria muddled through the economic difficulties of its transition after the fall of communism, Todorov drifted aimlessly. He had a few jobs — as a driver, in a grocery store, at a sausage factory — but nothing stuck. His wife, Albena, worked in a supermarket, too, but could not find anything consistent. Both are now unemployed.
About 15 years ago, Todorov moved here, to the apartment across from the coffee hut with the banana on the wall. There are drug dealers and underworld bosses on the street, Todorov said, and some of them approached him about working for them. He could be a captain, they told him, a leader. The money would be good.
He turned them down.
"There is a lot of cheating here, a lot of negative things," he said. "I don't like this. But there is also no boxing gym, no training. I don't talk to people a lot here. I don't get involved in anything. I don't need a lot of friends. I just try to relax."
He now lives off of a pension off of just 400 euros (435 dollars) a month.
The article is absolutely worth reading in its entirety, which you can do here.