Stephen Espinoza remains confident that one of the most anticipated fights in boxing can materialize before the end of the year.

The head of Showtime Boxing offered a brief update on negotiations for an undisputed welterweight fight between IBF, WBC, and WBA champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBO titlist Terence Crawford. Responding to suggestions that the fight might be on the brink of collapse, Espinoza rejected that notion outright, while admitting that there were certain aspects in the talks that have reached a standstill. Overall, Espinoza is optimistic that the fight will get made.

“I think in most negotiations that go on for a while, they have a lifespan of ups and downs,” Espinoza told "I don’t think it’s dead or close to dead. I think there are points where things are moving more quickly, points where things are sort of stuck at an impasse.

“And we’re a little bit stuck, but I don’t think anyone is ready to throw in the towel, least of all the two fighters.”

Both Spence, of Desoto, Texas, and Crawford, of Omaha, Nebraska, have publicly made it clear that they want to face each other next, a sentiment that was absent in previous years and which Espinoza says is the prime reason for his “optimism.”

Traction for the fight gained momentum after Spence stopped Yordenis Ugas in April to unify three of the four welterweight belts. Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) is backed by Al Haymon of Premier Boxing Champions, while Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) is presumably a promotional free agent; the Nebraskan was previously linked with Top Rank, but he parted ways with the company last year. PBC has content deals with not only Showtime but also Fox.

“Yeah, there’s some slow going, but the discussions are still ongoing,” Espinoza continued. “The people are still trying to make this work. I think one of the most positive things is that nobody is talking about it publicly. That’s bad news for [the media], and I wish I could share more, because I know there is a lot of interest, but at the same time I don’t want to be the guy who blows it up because I say something that irritates one side or the other and they walk away.

“I am still optimistic that it gets done. There are still a variety of conversations going on. I still think it is very, very possible to get it done this year.”

Espinoza noted that he has not had direct conversations with Crawford and his team about fighting on his network.

“To be completely honest, we haven’t had discussions with him and his team on that,” Espinoza said. “Everything has been focused on Spence-Crawford. That’s the focus. We’re going to continue to try and make that.

“Even if it (negotiations) dies, we’re going to try and revive it, try to revive it again, because it’s an important fight, and it’s a fight that both fighters want very badly. I think that’s where my optimism comes from, to the fact that both fighters are 100% convinced that this is the fight that make sense.”