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Errol Spence Jr vs Terence Crawford: Piracy May Jeopardize Undisputed Fight Says Bob Arum

Errol Spence Jr vs Terence Crawford is one of the most anticipated fights of modern boxing, but veteran promoter Bob Arum feels the fight may not be made due to the presence of piracy in boxing PPV streams.

The welterweight division of professional boxing is just one fight away from getting its undisputed world champion, and unified WBC, WBA (Super) and IBF titleholder Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) and WBO champ Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) will be the ones competing for the top spot at 147.

It remains one of the most eagerly awaited fights in the sport and with both combatants themselves willing to lock horns, Spence vs Crawford will easily fetch huge PPV numbers and can potentially become the biggest fight of the year.

However, PPV prices of such high-profile fights can be as high as $80 which many boxing fans can’t afford or don’t want to and as a result, switch to pirated illegal streams on the internet for free.

Dropping the PPV prices can bring in more viewers but at a loss for the promoters and if the fighters themselves eye PPV sales more than their guaranteed purses, that can hamper the fight more.

Bob Arum feels somebody must subsidize Errol Spence Jr vs Terence Crawford

Bob Arum, founder and CEO of Top Rank, is aware of these issues and says if no one is willing to subsidize Spence vs Crawford, the fight may not be a possibility.

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“It has tremendous interest from 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,” Arum told Fighthype, “The fighters realize how big a fight it is, and they want to get paid big amounts of money. The promoter, in this case, PBC, has to look at it and say, ‘Hey, we’ll put it on, we’ll give you nice guarantees, but you’ve got to really live from the upside,’ which the fighters realize now will not develop,”

“So again, unless somebody wants to subsidize that fight, I don’t know how it gets done. One solution might be, and if you pay big guarantees to the fighters, you can’t crap around with experiments. But if you look at our friends in the UK, who still do very robust numbers on the pay-per-view.“You say, ‘Why?’ Is it because the English fans are so honest that they won’t tap into a stream? Or is it because it’s a much smaller course to get the pay-per-view into the UK. It’s 20 pounds or 25 pounds for a really big fight.”

“People then don’t bother to steal the signal. They’re willing to pay the freight. But if you start, as we do here, you have eighty-dollar pay-per-views; that’s a whole different exercise. The problem is, that’s a theory. If we drop the cost of the pay-per-view down to 20 or 25 dollars, which is what we started with on pay-per-view. Would people then forgo pirating the signal and pay the money to watch the fight legitimately?”

“How do you experiment because if you’re wrong, for example, if you figured at the high price to get 250,000 buys at 80 dollars, and now you go to 25 dollars on a big fight, who’s to say you’re going to stay at 250,000?” Arum asserted, “My inclination is you reduce the piracy in that way. But again, to put up hard-earned money on a hope, that’s not a good business decision.” [H/T]

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