Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza doesn’t feel that the sticking point that apparently led to the breakdown in negotiations for the undisputed welterweight championship was a reasonable one.

Errol Spence, the WBA, WBC, and IBF 147-pound champion, and Terence Crawford, the WBO titlist, were engaged in serious discussions to face each other late last year. But talks unexpectedly nosedived, leading Crawford to pursue a fight with David Avanesyan, whom he ended up stopping in six rounds in December.

Spence is reportedly headed for a junior middleweight fight against Keith Thurman in the spring.

A key factor that led to the unravelling of negotiations, according to Crawford, was a failure to receive full “financial transparency” from Spence’s chief handler, Al Haymon, the founder of Premier Boxing Champions. Crawford apparently wanted Haymon to be forthcoming on the accounting but contends Haymon was ultimately not willing to do that. Otherwise, most other important terms were agreed to, including, according to Crawford, a willingness to fight without a guaranteed purse, the assumption being that Crawford was content with getting a percentage of the overall revenue from the fight.

The transparency aspect was important to Crawford because, as he himself has repeatedly put it, Haymon’s duty (fiduciary, etc.) is to look out for Spence and his interests, not Crawford’s. As a result, Crawford, a free agent who has never previously been involved with Haymon or featured on a PBC event, understandably felt that he needed as much protection as possible.

“So, you know, even though I knew I was getting f---ed in the long run, I just, you know, wanted a little transparency,” Crawford said in a much-publicized Instagram Live Session several months ago. “I said, ‘OK, if I’m gonna bet on myself, and I’m gonna go against all the odds, then I want a, you know what I mean, a little transparency.’ You know, I wanna be able to write off on, you know, things that’s gonna affect my check. Of course, I wanna see if the numbers add up to what they tellin’ me.”

Financial transparency, as Spence understood it, was that Crawford wanted an ability to have “approval over expenses” and other ancillary financial aspects. Spence, in a series of tweets last year, lambasted Crawford for what he felt were unrealistic demands, including his apparent desire to have the ability sign off on certain “agreements.”

In a recent interview, Showtime’s Espinoza echoed Spence’s frustrations, at least from the standpoint of Showtime. Espinoza was intimately involved in discussions for Spence-Crawford, as Showtime was expected to produce the card; Showtime has an exclusive arrangement to showcase fighters aligned with Haymon’s PBC. Espinoza simply feels Crawfords idea of transparency is not in line with business reality and that an element of “trust” is required.

"The transparency (request) is absolutely baffling,” Espinoza told FightHubTV. “He got that in black & white. I’ve seen the contract. It’s there in black & white. The reality is we collect the money, we do the accounting. You can’t do accounting without being transparent. It depends on what transparent means. To most it means I know what the revenues are, I know what the expenses are, I know what the deductions are, it’s all out in the open. That has never been an issue on this fight or any other fight that we’ve been involved with.

“Here’s where it gets a little more complicated. I get the right to approve expenses. First of all, I have a problem with that because what’s going to happen when I tell you, ‘OK, this is what TV production costs,’ and you say, ‘No, I think it would be cheaper.’ So, wait a minute. Now, I can’t produce it? We’ve been doing this quite a while. I know what it costs. … We’re not going to go into a promotion and have the risk of someone saying to us, two weeks out, no I don’t like that contract, I’m not signing it. Or go into it and say we’re waiting for a fighter signature and I don’t know when he’s going to get around to viewing this expense and signing it. It’s just not a realistic way to do business.

“You’ve got to have a certain level of trust,” Espinoza continued. “There are certain protections, disclosures you can do up front, but the reality is the ability to approve everything along the way, there’s no one who is ever going to do it. The reality is that there is no way people are going to go into it and start spending a bunch of money and then let’s say two weeks out somebody gets a bug up their ass about an expense and says, you know what, I don’t want you to spend any more marketing. Who’s going to go into a deal where you’re at someone else’s mercy until the very last second?”

Espinoza fears that Crawford’s demand for greater administrative supervision could lead to mishaps, perhaps even a debacle. By way of example, Espinoza recalled the ticket controversy ahead of the showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015. The public sale of tickets to the much ballyhooed welterweight match did not occur until less than two weeks before the night of the fight because of an allocation dispute between the camps of both fighters. Espinoza is concerned that a similar stalemate might occur if Crawford is given bilateral power.

“The reality is, if you’re asking to approve expenses, the question is, what if you don’t approve? What happens?” Espinoza posited. “We saw this, and this is a great example of Mayweather-Pacquiao. You remember it well. So, we had this weird situation where the tickets weren’t released until ten days before the week of. Why was that? Because the parties had mutual approval and they reached an impasse, and everybody was screwed.

“That is the cautionary tale. So it’s great to say, ‘okay, mutual approval,’ but what if you don’t approve? What are the repercussions there, and how is it resolved? If your position is, ‘No, it has to be mutual approval, and I have the ability to blow it up at any point up until fight night,’ you’re not going to get a lot of people taking that deal because you'll end up with something like Mayweather-Pacquiao but worse.”