Los Angeles (AFP)
British boxer Billy Joe Saunders on Tuesday threatened to withdraw from his unification super middleweight title clash with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez after he exploded the size of the ring at the venue in Texas.
Saunders is set to take on Mexican star Alvarez at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday in front of 60,000 fans – the largest crowd at any U.S. sporting event since the pandemic began.
However, Saunders criticized the dimensions of the ring that was installed at the site, saying each side is only 16 to 18 feet, significantly smaller than the 24-foot ring he expected.
“The problem is, I come here and they try to throw me into a phone booth in a boxing ring,” Saunders told UK radio Talksport in an interview.
“People say stuff about getting under people’s skin and under the skin of the camp, but (the stadium) is hundreds and hundreds of feet long and they want to stick a 16 to 18 foot ring in the middle.
“For me, this is simply unacceptable. I want a 24 foot ring and they say it won’t happen and that’s what it is. But I left that to my team and I’m sure they’ll fix it – – otherwise there won’t be a fight. “
While criticism of Saunders has been dismissed in some quarters as pre-fight mind games, the 31-year-old has insisted his grievance is genuine.
“You can’t just fly me in here and show me the ring we use and I’ve trained my entire camp in a 24ft 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 is a big difference. “
Saunders – who skipped a planned media face-to-face photo with Alvarez on Tuesday – said the ring’s small size was designed to benefit the Mexican star’s more aggressive style.
“His game plan does not wait, his game plan is coming to me,” he said. “And I want a place where I can move around and get rid of my boxing.
“Every world title fight, all those unification fights, they’re always in big hoops. Name me one, name two fights where you see a unification of 18 (feet) ring? “
Alvarez, 55-1 with two draws and 37 KOs, will risk his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association crowns against undefeated World Boxing Organization champion Saunders, who is 30-0 with 14 KOs, in the test of strength of unification.
© 2021 AFP