SBD/March 10, 2011/Media

Arum, King Criticize HBO’s Boxing Leadership, Strategy

Greenburg on the end of harsh criticism from promoters Don King, Bob Arum
It has "become common wisdom, both internally and outside of HBO," that HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg and Senior VP Kerry Davis "are on their way out," according to Jerry Izenberg of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Fueling the "immediacy of that suggestion is the fact" that HBO co-President Richard Plepler and President of Programming Michael Lombardo, "the man to whom Greenburg reports, are completing a fact-finding mission about why the network’s entire boxing program is in such disregard." Both Plepler and Lombardo "question the competence and boxing knowledge of HBO Sports." On Tuesday, boxing promoters Bob Arum and Don King said that "they believe Greenburg has not only harmed his own network but blame him for much of the disarray in which boxing finds itself." When asked if HBO has been "bad for boxing," King said, "Absolutely, and bad for the public as well." Referring to Saturday's Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga bout, King added, "We are fighting to take back the business and put it back in the hands of professionals. That’s why this fight is on Showtime, which is owned by CBS, and the CBS-TV network will promote as will 160 of its radio stations." Arum said, "HBO Sports has trashed this sport. Don and I are fighting for survival. This fight is the first step. It will generate terrific excitement when they go toe-to-toe. You asked me about a change in HBO Sports and until or unless it happens I cannot comment on that, but I will say this: They (HBO Sports) want promoters whom they can tell when to fight and where to fight and control it. You don’t make great fights that way. You can’t be lazy and arrogant. You have to work like hell. So in this fight we are going to take this business and put it back in the hands of the promoters and the public where it belongs" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 3/10).
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