In the build-up to Floyd Mayweather's pay-per-view event with Robert Guerrero, Showtime has made the decision to bring in the man that was the head of HBO Sports when Mayweather made his leap to superstardom in the mid to late 2000's. Ross Greenburg, fired from HBO in the summer of 2011 for losing Manny Pacquiao to Showtime for one fight among other things, has been hired by Showtime to work on the promotional build-up for Mayweather's pay-per-view show.
According to SI.com's Chris Mannix, Greenburg will primarily serve two functions. The first is giving help to Showtime's All Access reality show, which is essentially their version of HBO's 24/7. The big thing, however, is that Greenburg has been brought in to produce a one-hour documentary about the last year of Mayweather's life, including his stint in prison last year. The documentary will air on CBS as part of the build-up for the pay-per-view.
Mannix was able to ask Greenburg his thoughts on his transition to Showtime and why he is coming back after such a tough fall only two years ago.
"This has always been in my blood," Greenburg told SI.com. "I have always been a producer at heart. I love telling stories. It’s refreshing. There are not a lot of headaches. I didn’t have to put out too many fires. I really enjoyed the people I work with."
"I guess I feel like [Kevin] Youkilis and [Johnny] Damon going into the [Yankees] locker room," Greenburg said. "I’m just interested in helping [Showtime Executive Vice President] Stephen [Espinoza] as much as I can. It’s been very easy for me. They have welcomed me like family. It’s like Jeter putting arm around Youkilis. I’m back doing what I want to do. I have to take care of my family. I’ll always remember and cherish the glorious past. I had a wonderful 33 years [at HBO]."
Greenburg wouldn’t say if his relationship with Showtime could last beyond this fight ("We’ll see," Greenburg said) but said he had no regrets about his time at HBO.
"No, not at all," Greenburg said. "I did my job. The HBO sports department is something I will always remember. I think we built a hell of a franchise and a brand. The boxing program when I left it was as strong as it ever was. I have no regrets whatsoever. I took a lot of criticism, most of it unwarranted, but that is OK. I’m a big boy. I’ll pick myself back up. I have so many great memories. All fond memories."
There's a bit more in the article if you're interested in reading the entire thing. The main thing here is that it appears Greenburg is extremely happy to be back doing what he does best. The moves he made in terms of boxing programming at HBO were highly questionable at times. And his quote "The boxing program when I left it was as strong as it ever was." is an epic howler of a line. But the guy was a genuinely great producer. HBO's 24/7 series, invented by him and Mayweather, was a massive hit. The old Countdown preview specials that HBO used to do were typically excellent as well. These are all in addition to several other wonderful sports documentaries HBO did during his tenure that were not even boxing related.
The bottom line is that Showtime has likely made a good move here. If the goal was to get a top-flight talent to develop a product in order to hype an event, they have hit a home run in that regard. Just keep him away from the boxing programming. And Al Haymon.