BILLY JOE SAUNDERS’ showdown with pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez is OFF, according to his dad Tom.
Team Saunders revealed on Tuesday they were willing to pull the plug on Sunday morning’s eagerly-anticipated super-middleweight title unification bout due to a dispute over the size of the ring.
Saunders and his camp want the fight to take place in a 24ft ring, but the contest is set to be held in a 20ft squared circle.
Negotiations between the two camps have gone sour, prompting the Welwyn warrior’s dad to declare the fight dead in the water.
He told iFL TV: “There’s nothing in the contract about ring size.
“Negotiations have broke down… They’ve said it’s either 20ft or book your flights home.
“The fight’s off.”
Team Saunders believe a smaller ring gives a significant advantage to power puncher Canelo, who has struggled with slick southpaws in the past.
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Earlier this week, Billy Joe’s old man told iFL TV: “There are a few issues we’re not happy about that we got to get sorted out.
“That’s the size of the ring. Matchroom wants us to box in an 18-foot ring, and then they come back with a 20-foot ring. It was supposed to be a 24-foot ring.
“Then we’ve compromised with no smaller than a 22-foot ring.
“MTK is on it, and they’re all over it now. Hopefully, that’ll sort it out, and I’m sure it will be.
“For Matchroom to want Billy Joe to box in an 18-foot in the ring, that’s an amateur ring.
“It seems to me in an 18 to 20-foot ring, they’re trying to take Billy Joe’s advantage away from him, and we haven’t got many advantages here.
“We’re up against everything. Eddie Hearn has delivered this fight, but at what cost?
“He’s not working with us.
“He’s working against us in every opportunity. Matchroom need to pull their finger out, otherwise we will be coming home.
“I want the fight to happen, Billy Joe wants the fight to happen, but we will not budge on this.”
The fleet-footed Saunders – who has bamboozled all 30 of his professional opponents with his fleet-footedness – called for a swift resolution to ensure the fight is on a ‘fair playing field.’
He told Behind the Gloves: “There’s one or two small things now.
“One of those small things and when I say small is the ring. I’ve left it to my team. I let them sort out all of that rubbish.
‘”You don’t go in a 70,000 seat stadium with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of feet long and dance in a 16-foot ring or an 18-foot ring or even a 20-foot ring.
“This magnitude of fight has to be on a fair playing field.”