Ross Greenburg warns Mayweather not to underestimate Marquez

HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg is excited about the new "24/7" series featuring Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez, and warns Mayweather not to take Marquez lightly on September 19. (Photo via images.businessweek.com)

HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg spoke with Newsday's Robert Cassidy, expressing his excitement over the upcoming "Mayweather-Marquez: 24/7" series, and warning the returning and potentially distracted Floyd to not take Marquez lightly.

On Mayweather's return to the network that made him a star with their ambitious reality show "docu-drama":

It's going to be entertaining. I've seen some of the rough cuts already. It's Floyd as you've always remembered him. He hasn't changed that personality. It's dramatic, exciting, can't-wait-to-see-what-Floyd-does-now television.

...

Boxing misses him. Whenever you take that type of a personality out, you are going to have a problem. This is a guy who has risen to superstar status, we desperately needed Floyd back.

I think it's always a mistake in boxing to "desperately need" any one fighter. I know what Ross is saying, and understand that Mayweather is simply a bigger star than anyone that's been on HBO this year, save maybe for Manny Pacquiao, and that's still a maybe. But if boxing "desperately needs" Mayweather, then you're saying that the sport isn't healthy. I'm not arguing it's a mainstream sport or that it ever really will be again, because I doubt it will be. But there's a viable, healthy audience out there. Too many times, I think, the networks and promoters go whole hog trying to make someone out to be unbeatable or unparalleled. Really, promote the sport first and the fighters second. There are a lot of exciting fighters out there, and a lot of really good fighters. But networks and promoters have too long been fixated on finding the chosen one instead of actually promoting the sport itself.

But that's a whole other deal, I guess.

On Mayweather potentially looking past Marquez:

Ask Manny Pacquiao if Juan Manuel Marquez is to be taken lightly. There are certain people in boxing who will tell you that there has never been a boxer who has been able to adjust like JMM can during a fight. Look at the Diaz fight. He was getting beat and then he took him out. He'll also fight in rounds six through 12 as if he is fighting in the first 30 seconds of the fight, fresh as a daisy. He is born and bred, a Mexican fighting machine. And as we've known in the past that some of the greatest technical fighters of all time have come out of Mexico and you combine that with the will and the skill, this is a tough opponent for Floyd.

The closer we get, the more I want to believe Marquez has a viable shot, and perhaps the less I actually do believe that to be the case. I think there are three ways Marquez can win, though:

  1. Luck, which isn't a shot at Marquez. Luck plays a role in all sports, often a very big role. Fighters have gotten lucky before and pulled off massive upsets, bigger than Marquez over Mayweather.
  2. A terribly distracted Mayweather that just isn't there mentally and gets rattled early and taken out of his game.
  3. Mayweather being so rusty that Marquez can put some rounds in the bank before Floyd can start putting it together.

The great thing about this pay-per-view is that for the first time in a long time, I'm looking forward to the entire event. Every fight is good. Hey, I want to see if Antonio Diaz can't put Zab Judah out to pasture. I don't think it's that big of a longshot. Katsidis-Escobedo could be a war, and John-Juarez is a rematch worth seeing for sure. This is an entire show, so even though the main event could be argued as underwhelming and predictable, there's more to see than just the fight that starts at 11:30.

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