Bob Arum has a hard time seeing how an undisputed welterweight fight between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford can make money for everyone involved.

Arum, the head of Top Rank, was asked recently for his thoughts on what many observers believe to be the most competitive and most alluring fight in the sport today. A fight between WBA, WBC, and IBF champion Spence, of Desoto, Texas, and WBO titlist Crawford, of Omaha, Nebraska, has been percolating for a number of years but only recently gained steam. Both fighters have publicly declared their interest in making the fight and some outlets have reported that negotiations are underway.

Until last year, Arum was the promoter of Crawford, so he has long had to field questions about a Spence-Crawford fight and usually his response was to pour water over the fight, citing the economic infeasibility of the match-up. There was also the issue that Spence is backed by Premier Boxing Champions, the company led by Al Haymon, who, like Arum, seldom does business with other entities.

While the promotional problem may no longer be at play, Arum believes the economic one still persists. Arum’s contention is that a Spence-Crawford fight would not generate enough pay-per-view buys to cover both the high guarantees that would go to the fighters but also the profit expectations from the financial backers. Arum put the blame squarely on internet piracy.

He also suggested that unless the entities in charge of the fight—in this case PBC and presumably Showtime—are willing to lose money on the fight the options are dismal. The fighters, according to Arum, are not inclined to take a percentage of the net pay-per-view sales at the expense of their guaranteed purse. To that end, the only way to make the fight work from a financial standpoint, Arum said, is to involve a wealthy benefactor or entity who would be willing to underwrite the bout.

“Same problem,” Arum told “It’s a big fight. It has a tremendous interest for people who follow boxing, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into revenue from pay-per-view, which is the biggest source, because of the piracy.”

“The fighters realize how big a fight it is and they want to be paid big amounts of money and the promoter, in this case PBC, has to look at it and say you know, hey, we’ll put it on, we’ll give you nice guarantees, but you have to be willing to live with the upside, which the fighters realize now probably will not develop. Again, unless somebody wants to subsidize that fight I don’t know how it gets done.”

Arum did offer a possible solution, and that is to lower the typical American price point of a pay-per-view package. Arum pointed to the example in the United Kingdom, where the price point is typically less than in the United States. Arum believes that dropping the price could dissuade potential thieves.

Arum, however, admitted that this option is nothing more than an “experiment” and that there is a risk one would make even less money on the pay-per-view set at a reduced price point.

“If you look at our friends in the UK and they still do robust numbers on the pay-per-view,” Arum said. “It’s a much smaller cost to get the pay-per-view in the UK, 20 pounds, or 25 pounds for a really big fight and people then don’t bother to steal the signal. They are willing to pay the freight. But if you start, as we do here, having $80 pay-per-views that’s a whole different exercise.

“The problem is it’s a theory. If we drop the cost of a pay-per-view $20, $25 … would people then forgo pirating the signal and pay that money to watch the fight legitimately? How do you then experiment? Because if you’re wrong—if you figured at the high price to get 250,000 buys at $80 and now if you go to $25 on a big fight, who's to say it’ll stay at 250,000? My inclination is you reduce the piracy in that way but again to put up hard-earned money on the hope [that more buys are generated by lowering the cost of the pay-per-view]—that’s not a good business decision.”