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  • May 18, 2021

Exclusive: Billy Joe Saunders camp and Canelo Alvarez clash in hotel lobby over size of ring but fears fight is off have been calmed as Brit says issue is ‘sorted’

 Exclusive: Billy Joe Saunders camp and Canelo Alvarez clash in hotel lobby over size of ring but fears fight is off have been calmed as Brit says issue is ‘sorted’


An issue about the size of the ring that threatened to derail the Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders fight appears to have been resolved.

Saunders’ father had claimed the title showdown was off with the two camps locked in a dispute over the size of the ring for the fight, with Canelo initially wanting an 18ft version, while Saunders hoped for a 24ft equivalent.

Saunders and his team are adamant on securing the ring they want

Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Saunders and his team are adamant on securing the ring they want

The elusive Brit is expected to attempt to use his skills and movement in order to defeat the pound-for-pound king, but will need as much space as possible in order to avoid his assault.

Canelo agreed to rise 20ft, while Saunders dropped to 22ft, but nobody appeared willing to budge any further.

Tom Saunders then told iFL TV: “There’s nothing in the contract about the ring size, it’s all negotiations.

“The negotiations have broke down big time…

Canelo has the WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Canelo has the WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles

“We wanted a 24ft ring, we’ve come down to a 22ft inner ring.

“What they’re trying to do is take Billy Joe’s legs away, we’re up against everything here.

“At the end of the day, I’m not gonna let my son box in a 20ft ring [against] supposed to be the pound-for-pound king of boxing.

“They’ve said it’s either 20ft or book your flights home. So unfortunately we apologise to all the fans…

“They’re trying to take his legs away, the fight will not be fair. The fight’s off.”

Saunders has the WBO super-middleweight title

Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Saunders has the WBO super-middleweight title

Saunders Sr admitted there was a chance the event can be saved if a 22ft ring is agreed upon, but insisted that, as things stood, there was going to be no fight.

Billy Joe told White and Jordan on talkSPORT earlier on Tuesday: “There’s a little bit of a hiccup today that everyone’s trying to resolve.

“I’ve left that to my management team MTK who’s over here sorting it, it’s quite a big hiccup to be honest.

“The problem is I’ve come over here and they’re trying to chuck me in a phone box of a boxing ring.

“It [the stadium] is hundreds and hundreds of feet long and they wanna stick an 16/18ft ring in the middle of it.

“For me, that’s just unacceptable. I want a 24ft ring and they’re saying it’s not gonna happen.

“I’ve left it to my team and I’m sure they’ll resolve it, otherwise there won’t be any fight…

Saunders and his father have claimed Hearn is favouring Canelo during the build-up

Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Saunders and his father have claimed Hearn is favouring Canelo during the build-up

“You can’t just fly me in here, show me the ring that we’re using. I’ve been training all of my camp in a 24ft ring, it’s a unification fight, not a British title.

“It’s like someone training on a 200m running track and someone training on a 400m running track, there’s a big difference.

“We all know his style of fighting, anybody who knows boxing knows how this fight – – how I’ve got in my head of it playing out.

“And he’s got his own style of fighting and his game plan, and I know his game plan.

“His game plan’s not waiting around, his game plan is coming to me and I want somewhere where I can move and get my boxing off.”

Saunders did not show up at the AT&T Stadium in Texas where he was due to face off with Canelo for the first time of fight week

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Saunders did not show up at the AT&T Stadium in Texas where he was due to face off with Canelo for the first time of fight week

Like everyone else, Canelo wondered where his opponent was as it appeared the fight may be called off

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Like everyone else, Canelo wondered where his opponent was as it appeared the fight may be called off

The threat of cancellation appeared real when Saunders failed to show up for his first face-off with Canelo of fight week and the two camps clashed in the hotel lobby.

“What’s happening with the ring, we’ve come a long way, grow some b****cks,” a member of team Saunders shouted, to which Canelo replied in English: “You are a f***ing p***y.”

But a story later appeared on Saunders’ Instagram story to say things were ‘sorted’ regarding the ring size having heard Canelo’s view on the subject when quizzed by the media.

“I don’t care about the size of the ring, I’m just gonna go in there and do my job,” he said through an interpreter.

Canelo faced the media alone and told reporters he believed Saunders was trying to make excuses

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Canelo faced the media alone and told reporters he believed Saunders was trying to make excuses

“It’s not the only excuse he’s had, he’s had plenty of excuses… He has to fight Saturday. The fight’s going to happen, that’s not a problem.”

This seemed to placate Saunders, who said: “Just want to say I’m pleased the issue is sorted. The ring is not a problem. Thumbs are up.”

And with that he got back to watching Scarface in bed.





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