“Jab, jab, right” Katongole spurred me on when I was a budding teenager learning boxing. I ran, jumped, huffed and puffed but in truth I remained average. I also dabbled with taekondwo and karate. Still, I never made it to the elite levels. I have acknowledged that I am more gifted in communication than in the physical arts. Why this background? It is to illustrate that I have never lost my love for boxing, only if it involves the elite, the best of the best. Same goes for other sports like tennis and soccer. Well, on May 2, the biggest boxing match in recent history will be happening. Probably the most anticipated ever – Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao.
One story which appeared in the New York Times caught my attention last week - “He’s the Last Boxer to Beat Floyd Mayweather Jr., and He So Regrets It” . “Serafim Todorov defeated Mayweather in the semi-finals of the 1996 Olympic boxing tournament. He was offered a professional contract after his victory over Mayweather, but turned it down, before the promoters turned their attention to the American. Nineteen years later, Mayweather is preparing for the richest bout in boxing history against Manny Pacquaio, while Todorov is living on a pension of €400-a-month.”
“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.” Todorov had heard about all the perks before. The signing bonus, the house, the car, the new life and the big fights in front of big crowds.
“Without considering, I said no,” he said. “I just said it quick, like that. No.”Pay attention to the word “considering”. That’s a big lesson. Before you say “no” to an opportunity, give it some serious consideration.
Mayweather is expected to earn about $180m in the May 2 fight while Todorov will be running to pick his check of about $450. The Difference? One said “yes” while the other said “no” to the opportunity.
During a press conference in March, Mayweather said, “You get to this level where you’re making nine figures in 36 minutes... and you have to be a winner.” Three figures versus nine figures. I feel sorry for Todorov. I bet we all have had those moments. At least I know that I have.
In psychology, there is what we call self-sabotage. You let go of an option that would have led to your success. Usually a matter of saying “yes”. I’m not saying that you say “yes” to everything. But if the decision is moral, legal and ethical, most times, first consider saying “yes”. After all Mark Twain said that at the end of our lives we regret more about things we didn’t do than those we actually did. My prayer is that you remember to say “yes” to the bigger call. Who knows, you might invite me to celebrate your biggest payday or win. Good luck.
Ethan is the CEO of Success Africa, a motivational speaker, author and HR consultant.