BILLY JOE SAUNDERS claimed he skipped the first face-off with Canelo Alvarez because ‘I was playing with my balls’.
The pair headline on Saturday night in Texas with their unified super-middleweight titles on the line.
But the fight was at threat after Saunders’ demand of a 22ft ring was refused.
Canelo, 30, instead wanted to fight in the standard 20ft size, but Saunders, 31, and his dad made it clear if that was the case, the fight would be cancelled.
In the end, four-division champion Alvarez accepted the Brit’s terms as they eventually came face-to-face.
But asked why he did not show for the first meeting, Saunders said: “Yesterday I was in my room playing with my balls.
“There was no time for media yesterday because it was my time for playing with my balls.”
After Saunders’ threat to fly home, promoter Eddie Hearn was forced to ask Canelo if the ring size could be changed.
Hearn told iFL TV: “Billy got here and wasn’t happy with the ring, the team asked for a 20 foot by 20 fit ring, I agreed that with Canelo then Billy asked for a 22-foot ring.
“He said he was going home and I believed him. This is what he was pushing for.
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“Thankfully I had a conversation with Canelo that I was a little scared about. I asked if he had a problem with that and he said, no, not at all.”
Saunders had first asked for a 24ft ring and explained that was the size he had trained in throughout his camp.
He said: “If they’d had told me from day one, I’d have trained in an 18-foot ring and we could have fought in an 18-foot ring.
“But I’ve been training in an Olympic-sized ring, a 24-foot ring.
“It’s a unification fight, everything on the line and 70,000 people there, it doesn’t make sense to put an 18-foot ring in the middle.
“It’s a case of being treated fairly. Eddie says we don’t do 22s, we only do 20s; but why would you put a 20-foot ring in for Callum Smith and an 18-foot ring for me?
“If I’d have prepared in an 18-foot ring then no problem.
“Any fighter knows you prepare in a similar sized work office that you go to work in and this is a million miles away.”