Ross Greenburg, the President of HBO Sports since 2000, officially announced Monday that he was leaving the network he had worked 33 years for.
“This was a difficult decision that I have been contemplating for some time,” said the 56-year-old Greenburg, who won 51 Sports Emmy Awards and eight Peabody Awards for HBO since starting out as an assistant to the producer in 1978.
“It has been a glorious 33 years at HBO, but it felt like the right moment for me to focus my time and energy on developing projects that are particularly interesting to me.”
Greenburg — who was instrumental in creating several award-winning documentaries and sports series outside of his boxing niche, like the news magazine Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and Hard Knocks, the NFL training camp reality series — was mostly known for his work in the ring, creating more than 200 of the most prized prize-fights in boxing history.
He was the man behind such classics as Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns, Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler, Hearns vs. Hagler, Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. — which in 2007 set a pay-per-view record with 2.45 million buys.
While Greenburg (he also was in charge of the documentary Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV, which detailed the rise and fall of the basketball powerhouse and its outspoken coach Jerry Tarkanian) was responsible for the network’s 24-7 boxing documentary series that followed fighters like De La Hoya, Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao in their training and media build-up prior to their fights, but he also came under tremendous fire for losing the megastar Pacquiao’s May fight against Shane Mosley to rival network Showtime.
In an interview with the New York Times Greenburg disputed that losing Pacquiao factored into his decision to leave.
“That’s a silly rationale,” he told the paper. “That added to my angst, but one fight doesn’t determine whether I stayed or didn’t stay.”
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, had public falling outs when he said he felt Greenburg was getting a little too cozy with De La Hoya’s rival Golden Boy Promotions.
Greenburg admitted to Yahoo’s Kevin Iole on Sunday that the stress level and hoops various promoters wanted him to jump through had taken its toll.
“It got to be exhausting, very tiring,” Greenburg said. “I started to feel like a ticket agent at the airport when all the flights had been canceled with a lot of angry passengers in front of me looking to get on a plane and go home.”
Arum disputes Pacquiao rumor
Arum dismissed a rumor that began picking up steam in the Filipino press Monday that Pacquiao had fired his longtime business adviser, Michael Koncz.
“No, it’s all bullshit. I know someone who has talked to Manny, and it’s all nonsense. It’s all a made up story,” Arum told RingTV.com.
“Michael is very valuable and he’s a guy who looks out for Manny 100 percent. My feelings about Michael are that he’s got Manny’s best interest at heart. He’s an honest guy. That’s what Manny needs more than anything else — an honest representative.”
Tickets for Pacquiao’s Nov. 12 fight against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday.
The 37-year-old Marquez — who fought Pacquiao to a draw in their first bout in 2004, and lost a controversial split decision to the eight-division champ in 2008 — wasted no time in a tune-up bout on Saturday in Cancun, Mexico when he flattened Likar Ramos with a right-hand just 1:47 into the first round.
Tickets for the November fight, ranging from $200-$1,200 and sold at either mgmgrand.com or ticketmaster.com, will likely sell out fast — considering that some 16,000 tickets were purchased in the first few hours on the first day Pacquiao-Mosley tickets went on sale.
Mosley divorce settlement
Mosley, who was dominated by Pacquiao in May, isn’t winning outside of the ring either as the former lightweight, welterweight and junior middleweight champion was ordered to give up all three of his championship belts in his divorce settlement with ex-wife, Jin.
TMZ states: the settlement provides that ex-wife Jin (they were married 2002-09) “shall maintain custody and control of three championship belts for each of the respective parties’ three minor children.”
On top of all that, Mosley was order to pay alimony of $20,000 per month and under California law Jin is entitled to half the profits from all future DVD and merchandise sales from Mosley’s big fights while they were together (which would exclude his fights with Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao in Vegas).
Super Six finale set
Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic will conclude Oct. 29 when Andrew Ward and Carl Froch meet at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
The 10-fight, two-year tournament began Oct. 17, 2009 when Showtime’s Ken Hershman decided to see who the top 168-pound fighter in the world was.
“The Super Six was created to determine the No. 1 super middleweight in the world through an arduous run of championship level fights, but more importantly, to sustain conversation and pique interest in these boxers before, during and between fights. It is clear that we have delivered that and much more,” Hershman told ESPN’s Dan Rafael.
The California-born Ward, the undefeated (24-0, 13 KOs) super middleweight titlist, scored a unanimous decision over Arthur Abraham in his semifinal; while the English boxer Froch (28-1, 20 KOs) outpointed Glen Johnson in the other semifinal.