In his first public statements since the fallout from the alleged failed negotiations of Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao, HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg acknowledged that he acted as a mediator between Mayweather's handlers and those of Pacquiao's from Top Rank Promotions in an effort to bring their highly-anticipated fight to fruition.
Bob Arum, Top Rank Promotions' CEO, told reporters on July 16 that he had been negotiating with Mayweather's manager, Al Haymon, with Greenburg acting as the mediator. Golden Boy Promotions' president, Oscar De La Hoya, and Mayweather's adviser, Leonard Ellerbe, recently denied that negotiations took place.
In his statement e-mailed through his public relations department, Greenburg did not name Haymon or Arum, although he corroborated Arum's assertion.
"Fights like Mayweather vs. Pacquiao are significant because of these fighters' ability to connect with sports fans around the world," said Greenburg. "It's unfortunate that it won't happen in 2010,"
"I had been negotiating with a representative from each side since May 2nd, carefully trying to put the fight together," said Greenburg. "Hopefully, someday this fight will happen. Sports fans deserve it."
Golden Boy Promotions' CEO, Richard Schaefer, disputed Ross's claims.
"The only thing that I can say is that I stand behind my previous statement which is that I am not aware of any negotiations having taken place. I don't know where that statement from Ross is coming from. He didn't negotiate with me, and I have a very close relationship with Leonard Ellerbe and with Al Haymon, and I'm not aware that either one of them had held negotiations with Ross Greenburg," said Schaefer, whose company has promoted Mayweather's past two victories over Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley.
"It must have been quite a negotiation for Bob Arum to issue a statement that the fight was done, and that the members of Team Mayweather, whomever Ross was supposed to be negotiating with, were okay with the terms on the table, and that the deal was simply awaiting Floyd Mayweather's signature," said Schaefer.
"That must have been something that he had heard from Ross," said Schaefer. "So I would be anxious to know who Ross was negotiating those terms with and who gave Ross the indication that any potential terms on the table were acceptable to Mayweather, because I'm sure that Bob wouldn't say those things unless he was told them by Ross."
Not long after Arum's conference call, Ellerbe released a statement denying the negotiations ever took place.
"Here are the facts. Al Haymon, Richard Schaefer and myself speak to each other on a regular basis, and the truth is no negotiations have ever taken place," stated Ellerbe. "Nor was there ever a deal agreed upon by Team Mayweather or Floyd Mayweather to fight Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 13. Either Ross Greenburg or Bob Arum is not telling the truth, but history tells us who is lying."
Arum responded by calling Ellerbe's statements, "preposterous," and, "totally bizarre," adding, "it's almost like dealing with people who have lost their minds."
Arum could not be reached for comment.
"Bob Arum is probably upset because he has no control over anything that Floyd does, so I stand behind the statement that I gave last week 100 percent, and I pay absolutely no attention to Arum attempting to attack me personally by calling me crazy," said Ellerbe of Arum, who once promoted Mayweather.
"Call me crazy if you want to, but I deal with the facts. And these are the facts: Floyd Mayweather has become the biggest star in the sport, and has made over $120 million since he left Arum. So if that makes me crazy, then, so be it."
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