The president of HBO Sports announced that he did negotiate with representatives of both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. to try to stage a super-fight between the pair this year.
Ross Greenburg, in a prepared statement e-mailed to The Times on Monday, said, "Fights like Mayweather vs. Pacquiao are significant because of these fighters' ability to connect with sports fans around the world.
"It's unfortunate that it won't happen in 2010.
"I had been negotiating with a representative from each side since May 2, carefully trying to put the fight together. Hopefully, someday this fight will happen. Sports fans deserve it."
Greenburg's statement contradicts a prepared statement by Mayweather's lead advisor, Leonard Ellerbe, released in the days after Pacquiao promoter, Bob Arum, said he was moving on past the deadline for Pacquiao's exclusive talks with Mayweather. Pacquiao will now fight Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13 at a site to be determined.
"No negotiations have ever taken place, nor was there ever a deal agreed upon by Team Mayweather or Floyd Mayweather to fight Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 13," Ellerbe said then. "Either Ross Greenburg or Bob Arum is not telling the truth, but history tells us who is lying."
Arum responded to Greenburg's statement by criticizing Oscar De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotions Chief Executive Richard Schaefer for previously describing negotiations as "very close," -- as De La Hoya formerly told a Spanish-language television network -- and for not being more forthcoming about talks.
Schaefer, reached Monday by The Times, said he was unsure what prompted Greenburg's statement and said, "[Greenburg] has not negotiated with me, let me put it like that," and added he had no information that Greenburg had talked to Mayweather's manager, Al Haymon, either.
"Leonard, me and Al talk on a regular basis, and I'm not aware of these 'negotiations' taking place, and I'm totally surprised Ross Greenburg would claim differently. If these negotiations took place, I'm confident I would have been aware of them."
De La Hoya, at a media day in Hollywood for Saturday's Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz fight in Las Vegas, said he originally described talks as "very close" because, "I was getting the question so often, I was hearing it in my sleep," he said. "I was like, 'Yeah, yeah, it's close.' But I really didn't know."
Arum said Greenburg, who was apparently acting as a mediator of sorts, portrayed negotiations "exactly as I saw it, and how I acted. Ross is reflecting what the facts were. The [Ellerbe] statement defied explanation.
"You don't lie to the press. And the thing Oscar had said ... they've done the unpardonable: They've lied to the press."
Schaefer said he didn't appreciate the timing of Greenburg's statement as the promoter worked on fight-week preparations in Las Vegas for Golden Boy's HBO pay-per-view card, headlined by the Marquez-Diaz world lightweight title fight.
"I find it extremely unprofessional the president of HBO Sports would issue this statement before this weekend's Golden Boy fights, one of our deepest cards ever," Schaefer said. "My entire focus this week is on the well-being of this pay-per-view card on HBO, and they would be well-served to do the same thing."
-- Lance Pugmire