By Bob Velin, USA TODAY
HBO President Ross Greenburg disputed a claim by Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s adviser last week that there have been no negotiations for a proposed Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao mega-fight.
Leonard Ellerbe released a statement last Tuesday that said, "Here are the facts. Al Haymon (Mayweather manager), Richard Schaefer (Golden Boy CEO) 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 (Top Rank chairman) Bob Arum is not telling the truth, but history tells us who is lying."
Greenburg said in a statement on Monday that he has been negotiating since the day after Mayweather scored an impressive 12th-round TKO victory May 1 against Sugar Shane Mosley in Las Vegas.
"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," Greenburg's statement read. "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."
Schaefer, who is promoting this weekend's pay-per-view lightweight title rematch in Las Vegas between Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz, stood by his word, saying it was strange to hear Greenburg's statement.
"I have had no negotiations as it relates to this (Mayweather-Pacquiao) fight," he said. "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, reached by phone, said, "This whole thing has gotten blown way out of proportion. 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?"
Arum, meanwhile, said Greenburg's statement "comports exactly what happened.
"The guy who has a lot of answering to do is Mr. Schaefer. There's no excuse for that. You may equivocate, you may lie in your business, but you don't lie to the press. And that's what he did. And there was absolutely no reason for him to do that. He should have remained silent.
"And then to compound things, Oscar (De La Hoya), who went into detail about the negotiations four weeks ago, now says, 'well, I didn't mean it, there were no negotiations.' There's a particular sadness to all of this, that a guy like Mayweather can make people do these ridiculous things.
"It's so unnecessary. We tried to negotiate. I didn't put blame on anybody. As a matter of fact, I threw out lifelines giving reasons why (Mayweather) couldn't do the fight. Or he could've just said 'Hey, I had a fight in May and I don't want to fight until next year.' No problem.
All of this was a lot of nonsense. And it made everybody look bad."