Billy Joe Saunders’ father insists that this weekend’s title fight against Canelo Alvarez will not be taking place due to a dispute over the size of the ring.
Saunders and Alvarez were supposed to come face-to-face for the first time on Tuesday but an argument about the ring size looks to have caused an insurmountable obstacle in making the bout a reality on Saturday night.
Saunders’ camp raised issues about the size of the ring for the super-middleweight title fight this weekend and the Brit’s father, Tom, explained how they were willing to compromise and agree to a 22ft ring but Alvarez refused to budge on his desire to fight in a 20ft ring.
“I can’t see them coming face-to-face because the issue with the ring still hasn’t been sorted,’ Tom Saunders told IFL TV.
“There’s nothing in the contract about the ring size. It’s all negotiations and the negotiations have broken down big time.
“Basically Canelo has put an 18ft ring, which I think is an amateur ring, as the fight ring so his plan was to put an 18ft ring because he knew we were going to start and he said, ‘right! 20ft ring, that’s it!’ That was his gameplan, to fight in a 20ft ring.
“We wanted a 24ft ring but we’ve come down to a 22ft inner ring. Basically what they’re trying to do is take Billy Joe’s legs away. We’re up against everything here. Everything! And at the end of the day, I’m not going to let my son box in a 20ft ring for what’s supposed to be the pound-for-pound king of boxing.”
Saunders’ close friend Tyson Fury urged Alvarez to “play fair” regarding the ring issue but it sounds like the Mexican fighter refuses to agree to Saunders’ demands.
Tom Saunders insists that he and his son are looking for fights out of Texas and predicted that Alvarez will bring in a short-notice opponent for Saturday night’s fight.
“We’ve spoken to them this morning and they’ve said that it’s either 20ft or ‘book your flight home’ so, unfortunately, we apologise to all the fans – British, American and around the world – I can’t let my son box in a 20ft ring against Canelo,” Tom Saunders continued.
“We’ve given into a lot of stuff here but this, we cannot give into. They’re trying to take his legs away so the fight will not be fair. Fight’s off!”