Billy Joe Saunders’ father Tom claims his son will not step into the ring to face Canelo Alvarez in Texas this weekend. The duo were due to square up in their super middleweight title unification fight on Saturday night but have been locked in a dispute about the size of the canvas.
And one year on from COVID-19 scrapping the fight, Tom Saunders insists the feud over the size of the ring means the rearranged bout has also fallen apart just days before the pair were to set to trade rubber.
Speaking to iFL TV on Tuesday, Saunders Snr said: “I can’t see them coming face to face, the issue with the ring has still not been sorted. There’s nothing in the contract about the ring size, it’s all negotiations. The negotiations have broken down big time.
“Canelo’s put an 18ft ring, which I think is an amateur ring, that’s the fight ring. His plan was to put an 18ft ring there. They knew we we were going to start, they said: ’20ft ring, that’s it.’ That was his gameplay, to fight in a 20ft ring.
“We want a 24ft ring. We’ve come down to 22ft and they’re trying to take Billy Joe’s legs away. We’re up against everything here, everything. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let my son box in a 20ft ring against who is supposed to be the pound for pound king of boxing, you know?
“We’re up against everything. We’ve spoken to them this morning, they’ve said, ‘It’s either 20ft or book your flights home.’ Unfortunately, we apologise to the fans, British, American and around the world, I can’t let my son box in a 20ft ring against Canelo on Cinco de Mayo weekend.
“We’ve given into a lot of stuff here but this, we just cannot give into. The fight would not be fair. The fight’s off. The fight’s off. The negotiations have broken down completely. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve got a late substitute, someone they’re going to try and dig out from somewhere.
“It’s all a big con, people. If you’re subscribed to the channel, ask for your money back. If you’ve bought tickets, ask for your money back. That’s all you’re going to see, a bum in there with Canelo and Canelo just having a sparring session.
“I don’t think he wants to fight Billy Joe. I think he’s seen a few clips and I don’t think he fancies it, he only wants a sure thing. Billy Joe is not a sure thing and we can’t give his legs away.
“That’s what will win this fight, his movement but unfortunately it looks like the public won’t see this fight.”
Earlier this week, Billy Joe had told talkSPORT: “The problem is I come over here and they try to chuck me in a phone box of a boxing ring. 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 24ft 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 18ft ring unification?”