Ross Greenburg Expected to Be Replaced at HBO Sports

HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg is expected to be replaced, according to Lem Satterfield and Rick Reeno, and an announcement could come on Monday.

Sources indicate that Greenburg's run as the head man at the cable giant's sports division is thanks in large part to Manny Pacquiao jumping ship to Showtime for his May 7 fight with Shane Mosley, which left HBO without a huge event marquee fight until July 2's Wladimir Klitschko vs David Haye fight, and that wasn't a pay-per-view event. Ratings have actually been up for HBO's boxing events this year, but this has been churning in the rumor mill for months now, and should come as no surprise to anyone.

HBO still has a good shot at landing Pacquiao's next fight, which would give HBO four straight months of pay-per-view boxing events: Mayweather vs Ortiz (9/17), Hopkins vs Dawson (10/15), Pacquiao vs Marquez III (11/12), and with the latter fight, Cotto vs Margarito II (12/3).

But that just doesn't appear to be enough. Greenburg and HBO Sports -- including, most notably, Kery Davis -- have been criticized for not often using their budget effectively, and for often playing favorites with certain managers (Al Haymon) and certain promoters (Golden Boy and to a lesser extent Top Rank). They've also been criticized for overpaying for fights of certain fighters, with Andre Berto and Chad Dawson standing out in that regard.

The bottom line, I'm guessing, is that Greenburg, Davis, and the rest of the guys leading HBO's boxing group just haven't made any real progress in years, and even though ratings are up a tick this year, they probably just aren't up far enough. In 2007, a fight between Humberto Soto and Joan Guzman on Boxing After Dark drew 1.4 million viewers, for instance. In April of this year, during a free preview weekend, the Berto vs Victor Ortiz fight drew 1.5 million and was celebrated like a major happening. The next month, Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal did 1.8 million viewers, HBO's highest mark since 2009 (Klitschko vs Arreola, which got a bump from the Mayweather vs Marquez replay). It may all have been too little, too late, with emphasis on both counts.

Back in May, Yahoo! Executive Vice President Ross Levinsohn was rumored to be Greenburg's impending replacement, and ESPN.com boxing reporter Dan Rafael was rumored to be in serious talks to join HBO Sports as a matchmaker.

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