THIS past Sunday (July 26) in his homeland of Bulgaria, 46-year-old Serafim Todorov returned to the pro ring for the first time since 2003. The 1990s amateur standout – who won the World championships three times and also captured a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics – is, famously, the last man to defeat superstar Floyd Mayweather Junior.
The win over Mayweather came in the semi-finals of the ‘96 games in Atlanta, Todorov winning via a controversial 10-9 score many people felt should have gone to the then 19-year-old Floyd. After losing in the final to Somluck Kamsing, Todorov went pro in 1998. Having nowhere near as much success in the paid ranks, the Bulgarian had just six bouts, losing one. Walking away citing a lack of adequate promotional and managerial backing, Todorov last boxed in November of 2003 – until this past Sunday.
Returning to box a four-rounder at welterweight against a 1-5 fighter named Aleksandar Chukaleiski, the 46-year-old won a clear unanimous decision – with scores of 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37. Speaking later to Ognian Georgiev of Bulgaria Today, Todorov spoke about his plans for the future, which, he hopes, will include a rematch with Mayweather.
“The people saw once again that I am blessed,” a victorious Todorov said. “This guy was 20 years younger than me. It was like I am fighting my son. I am capable to show much more, but I need some serious organisation behind me. I am starting to find my old form. I am becoming better with each training session. There isn’t any pressure because I participated in so many international events. I am realistic and I don’t want to say any strong words for a match against Floyd. I need five months in the gym to prepare myself for him and I promise that it will be very interesting inside the ropes if we meet once again.”
There were recent articles reporting how Todorov has been living in a modest apartment and money is almost certainly a big factor in his returning to the ring. But is there a chance, no matter how slim, that Mayweather – a ring perfectionist if ever there was one – will look at the possibility of avenging his last ring loss? Todorov clearly hopes so.