It’s fight week for the super middleweight title unification between Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders and naturally tensions are running high. So high, in fact, that we’re only days away from the big fight and there’s still details that are being argued over — right now regarding the size of the ring in Texas.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Saunders had this to say about being ambushed by a small ring that he doesn’t approve of.
“The problem is I come over here and they try to chuck me in a phone box of a boxing ring,” Saunders said. “You know, all these games and other bits and bumps played along the way for this fight is all mind games. People say stuff to get under people’s skin and under camp’s skin, but it’s hundreds and hundreds of feet long and they want to stick a 16’ to 18’ ring in the middle of it.
“For me, that’s just unacceptable. I want a 24’ ring and they’re saying it’s not gonna happen and it is what it is. But I’ve left it to my team and I’m sure they’ll solve it — otherwise there won’t be any fight.
“You can’t just fly me in here and show me the ring that we’re using and I’ve been training all of my camp in a 24’ ring. It’s a unification fight, not a British title. It’s like someone training on the 200m running track and someone training on the 400m running track — there’s a big difference.
“Anybody who knows boxing knows this fight, how I’ve got it in my head to plan out — won’t give too much away for the game plan. And I know he’s got his own style of fighting and his game plan, and I know his game plan. His game plan is not waiting around, his game plan is coming to me. And I want somewhere where I can move and get my boxing off.
“Every world title fight, all of these unification fights, they’re always in big-sized rings. Name me one, name me two fights where you see an 18’ ring unification?”
Representative from both sides are currently in the midst of negotiating a compromise on the ring size for Saturday’s fight and we should know soon whether or not this proves to be a deal-breaker.
Saunders has now not shown up to a scheduled face-off with Canelo at The AT&T Stadium, and his father, Tom, has made a statement that they are booking their flights to go home.
Many reactions on social media believe that it is all just last-minute mind games, some even likening the behaviour to when Fury fought Klitschko in Germany in 2015.
Canelo looked very displeased with his opponent's behaviour and posed for pictures with trainer Eddy Reynoso instead.
While all of this was taking place, former rival Chris Eubank Jr. placed a £1k bet on Saunders to be knocked out this Saturday, and promised the potential £10k winnings will all go to charity.