I was in Las Vegas last weekend. Thanks to my television. Don’t mind me. Haha. The bout of the century saw the undefeated Mayweather still holding onto his enviable title, though others thought he should have lost. In Ghana, we don’t only have millions of ‘self-styled’ football coaches; boxing judges, too. Chai!
I admire Floyd Mayweather for many things, especially for the fact that he’s not complacent, unlike most boxers; Ghanaians especially. He still trains as hard as anyone else despite his feat. Often, some of us become drunk with success too early. This is evident in all areas of our lives, even in politics. The greatest threat to your next success is your last success.
We can barely aspire for greater heights. We are just satisfied with only little. When others are painstakingly trying to beat their last record, we are helplessly trying to only defend ours. Such a pity!
Serafim Todorov. Does this name ring a bell? Obviously not. I’ll tell you about him pretty soon and how this dude very much bears semblance with today’s GH. He was supposed to be a big thing in boxing; far greater than Mayweather.
Today, he survives on a measly $400 per month. I know what a fortune it may sound in your ears considering our drowning cedi. But… his contemporary lives on ten thousands of dollars in that same month!
What’s the connection between Serafim Todorov and Floyd Mayweather? On August 2, 1996, Serafim beat Mayweather in Atlanta at the Olympics! He was indeed the last man to beat him before he (Mayweather) started his undefeated professional journey.
Why hasn’t Serafim’s name being a household name then?
After that bout, the Bulgarian was approached by a couple of American boxing promoters to start a professional career but he turned it down “with little thought,” he admitted. Like seriously!? He confessed that all he wanted to be was an Olympics gold medalist. That’s all.
The same promoters approached Mayweather and set him on a path of fame, wealth and luxury. Mayweather envisaged beyond his amateur boxing.
Our Bulgarian friend eventually lost in the final bout during the Olympics games. He went back home and his career took a nosedive when he was plagued with disappointment, depression and life’s headaches and ever since… he’s been as poor as ever! Today, Mayweather is the best paid athlete… because he seized an opportunity!
Is poverty indeed the absence of money? I guess not. Poverty is the absence of a mind to see opportunities; the absence of an eye to have vision of tomorrow from today. Opportunities keep on knocking on our doors and we keep shunning them. Thanks to the absence of vision, thus, the presence of poverty!
How did Ghana get to where it is today? How did we get to the place where light became as scarce a commodity as the breath of life? How did we eventually become a nation which went on a loan-taking spree when we could easily have generated such internally!?
Like Serafim, we have decided to be blind to all the opportunities we are blessed with. Imagine all the resources we have; from human to mineral. In the abundance of all such opportunities, we are still as poor as ever.
Tell me Rome wasn’t built in a day and I’ll tell you it was obviously not built in darkness. Our nation has been plunged into stark darkness and someone somewhere thinks it’s not a great deal after all… because they can afford a generator set.
We need to get serious as a nation if we indeed would want to be another Rome. The absence of money is not our headache. The presence of ignorance is. Most of us do not want to think; at least our political parties would do so for us. We refuse to think through a matter as long it’s coming from ‘our party’. We think politically and act same. Everything is politics and not patriotism. This dirty game is gradually driving the nation into a ditch!
Serafim looks back and admits he regrets for not taking the opportunity that came his way that fateful day; the same that turned Mayweather’s life around. He thinks if he had instead lost that bout his life would have been better. I shake my head.
I prefer to take opportunites. I prefer to see beyond what the natural eyes admit seeing. If there are no opportunites, I would prefer to be carpenter to build a door. At all cost, an opportunity would come knocking one day.
Our nation can be better than what we see today. We have human capital with such rare, profitable skills we can invest in. Take a look at our youth. We can invest so mightily into them.
We have great institutions we can invest in. We should aim at finding ourselves somewhere in space rather than limiting ourselves to the sky. Our nation can be a hub of home-made modern cars. Thanks to the likes of the Kantankas.
Instead, like Serafim, we just want to be mere Olympics gold medalists. We want to give the citizenry everything except the best. We have reduced good governance to providing ‘temporary solutions’ when elections are drawing near.
We refuse to think any farther beyond today… courtesy politics. Politics is supposed to be good leadership; a solution to society’s challenges. On the contrary, it has become another headache of our society.
Our nation is opportunity-rich. The multi-million dollar question is whether our leaders have the ‘mind’ to see these opportunities. Visionary leaders see with their minds; not eyes. We can’t keep on wallowing in abject poverty and darkness in spite of all the resources we are drowned in. Such ignorance!
We kill the local market by patronizing Chinese goods, chairs especially, at the expense of our own. We don’t give a hoot about home-bred skills… always giving privileges to foreigners instead of ours. Am I preaching xenophobia? Hell no! I’m preaching empowerment of Ghanaian talents and skills. The Ghanaian is as good (if not better) as whomever as long as their skills are well honed. Let’s for once see opportunity in the Ghanaian.
Today, Serafim lives a life of regret boasting of being the only one to have last beaten Mayweather and shamefully prays no one beats him so he can be the only one who chalked that supposed feat. Can you imagine such mediocrity? Someone who could have been a bigger and better Mayweather now aims for something less of him.
Our nation boasts of such mediocrity too when we blow trumpet of only our peace when indeed we could have been living in affluence, too, amidst all our resources. We can be a Mayweather as far as our economy is concerned. Let’s not settle for a Serafim!
In the meantime, I need a shortcut to Heaven. It’s still May and the weather is not bad. I want to fight Mayweather! Yes! Anyone here who makes coffins? Haha.
Written by Kobina Ansah, Scribe Communications ltd.