By Clive Bernath: He certainly took his time but HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg finally issued a statement on Monday insisting that negotiations between himself and promoter Bob Arum had taken place for Manny Pacquiao to face Floyd Mayweather Jr on November 13.
The richest and most eagerly awaited fight of recent years between the two biggest names in world boxing has been overshadowed over the last week or so by denials as to whether or not negotiations for the fight had ever took place.
The drama initially unfolded on July 17 when Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum held a late night press conference to announce that the deadline for negotiations for ‘Pacman’ vs Mayweather Jr had now passed and he was turning his attention to fighting the disgraced Antonio Margarito on November 13.
On the conference call Arum said he had been holding talks with HBO’s Greenburg, who in turn relayed the dialogue to Mayweather’s advisor Al Haymon.
But following Arum’s announcement Mayweather’s advisor Leonard Ellerbe denied negotiations ever, took place and made the following statement to put the record straight:
"Here are the facts,’ said Ellerbe. “Al Haymon, (Golden Boy Promotions CEO and Mayweather co promoter) Richard Schaefer and myself speak to each other on a regular basis, and the truth is 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. Either Ross Greenburg or Bob Arum is not telling the truth, but history tells us who is lying."
But on Monday Greenburg issued the following statement:
"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 2nd, carefully trying to put the fight together. Hopefully, someday this fight will happen. Sports fans deserve it."
Responding to Greenburg’s statement Monday, Schaefer told USA Today: "I have had no negotiations as it relates to this (Mayweather-Pacquiao) fight.
"I don’t understand who Ross said they were negotiating with. They certainly have not been negotiating with me, I can tell you that."
Ellerbe also insisted via telephone to USA Today that no such talks took place: "This whole thing has gotten blown way out of proportion,” said Ellerbe.
“I stand behind my statement 100%. Floyd Mayweather made it clear to everyone what his intentions were. He came up with a statement on June 2, and made it very clear what his intentions were. How can you have a negotiation when the principal himself says he’s not even thinking about boxing at this particular time?"
However, Arum is delighted Greenburg eventually spoke out. Speaking to Dan Rafael from ESPN.com Arum said: "He (Greenburg) works for a major public company and he has to clear this sort of thing with his bosses. I understand that he had to get his statement cleared."
However, Arum was far from impressed with Schaefer: "The one you should all be taking to task is Schaefer for lying to the press," Arum told ESPN. "You don’t do that. You can say ’no comment’ or say nothing. Richard Schaefer owes an apology to the press, not to me, because I’ve written him off a long time ago. But now anything he says will be suspect. I don’t feel vindicated by Ross’ statement because that’s what happened. I knew what happened because I know I lived through the negotiations. I knew what I said about them was absolutely truthful so I didn’t give a damn who believed me. No skin off my back.
Responding to Arum, Golden Boy CEO, Schaefer stood by his previous version of events: "I think it’s unfortunate that Ross made that statement,” Schaefer told ESPN.
"I fully stand behind the statement I made. I have not negotiated with Ross and I am not aware of any negotiations that have taken place.
"If Ross or Arum wants to go through a lie detector test, we can arrange that. I can only tell you I have regular contact with Al (Haymon) and Leonard (Ellerbe) and there were no negotiations going on. I don’t know exactly what Ross is referring to or what he is talking about. But I have been very consistent. There were none going on.”
So who is telling the truth? One suspects we will never really know the answer to that one. But one thing we do know is that the biggest and only genuine ppv ‘Super Fight’ out there at present is not happening in 2010.
Will it ever happen? I certainly hope so.
Maybe the problem lays in the fact that there are so many parties involved and the right foot does not know what the left is doing? If that is indeed the case may I suggest that all parties set aside a couple of free days and lock themselves away in a room somewhere to make this fight happen? At least then all parties involved will know what in going on.
July 27, 2010