BILLY JOE SAUNDERS taunted Canelo Alvarez over his failed drugs test – after Eddie Hearn confirmed the fight is ON after a row over the ring-size.
Team Saunders threatened to pull out of Sunday morning’s eagerly-anticipated super-middleweight title unification fight in Dallas as they wanted at least a 22-footer.
Promoter Hearn said: “Billy was saying ‘I’m going home, I’m not fighting’, and I believe him – he is that crazy.
“I went back to Canelo and said ‘You can play a game of bluff about the ring size’, and he said ‘I don’t care about it’ so no problem – it will be 22 feet.
“I’m so excited about this fight… This is not the end of Billy Joe’s mind games.”
Saunders certainly proved that when the two boxers finally squared up – constantly telling Alvarez “You love the beef!” in a reference to a positive drug test before the Mexican took on Gennady Golovkin in 2018.
Alvarez’s team blamed contaminated meat after trace levels of clenbuterol were found in the voluntary tests.
Legend Alvarez nodded his head repeatedly as Saunders repeated his beef-based bashing – smiling coolly as he focused his eyes on the Brit.
Saunders then added: “You’ve never been in a ring with someone like me. someone with this (pointing to his heart).”
And as the pair were guided apart, Saunders chided: “Walk away. Walk away.”
Hearn described the clash as “one of the biggest three moments I’ve ever been involved in… and one of the biggest crowds in boxing history in the US”.
Welwyn warrior Saunders agreed to face the pound-for-pound king in a 22ft squared circle but has claimed promoter Eddie Hearn has only increased it by a single foot.
A fired-up Saunders earlier told iFL TV: “Eddie’s gone to 21ft, we’re arguing over a foot.
“I’m sure Eddie’s not that far stuck up Canelo’s a***, he’ll give an extra foot in the ring.”
“Once people see it’s only another foot, I’m sure he’ll compromise and do that.”
The issue appeared to be resolved on Tuesday night when southpaw Saunders said on Instagram: “I just want to say I’m pleased the issue is sorted.
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“Because obviously as you can see, I tagged Eddie Hearn and Canelo in the last video.
“And the ring is not a problem. So thumbs are up. Chilling back, watching a few films. And Eddie, get the ring in, mate.”
Saunders and his team believed a smaller ring would have given the hard-hitting Canelo – who has struggled with lefties in the past – a significant advantage.
The Hertforside hitman told talkSPORT: “I’ve been training all of my camp in a 24ft ring.
“It’s like someone training on a 200m running track and someone training on a 400m running track, there’s a big difference.
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“We all know his style of fighting, anybody who knows boxing knows how I’ve got this fight playing out in my head.
“And he’s got his own style of fighting and his game plan and I know his game plan.
“His game plan’s not waiting around, his game plan is coming to me and I want somewhere where I can move and get my boxing off.”
But Canelo accused Saunders of making ‘excuses’ for losing their Dallas dust-up.
The 30-year-old said: “He thinks he’ll give me a boxing lesson? “We’ll see. I am not the same guy I was five or six years ago.
“I have experience, I am a more mature fighter. So he can say whatever he wants, on Saturday night, he is in a different level of fight. I hope that I don’t need the judges on the night.
“We have always been open about what are short and long term plans have been. I want to unify the 168lb division, and Caleb Plant would be next in line to secure that short term goal if successful against Billy Joe Saunders
“The goal is to be undisputed at 168lbs and then we’ll see. I think I could stay at Super-Middleweight until the end of my career.
“I think I have about seven years left until I retire, but I’m listening to my body and when it tells me to quit, I’ll quit
“Nothing frustrates me, I am just focused on winning on Saturday. He has to fight me on Saturday, that has to happen, it’s not a problem.
“I don’t care about anything; I am just going to go in there and do my job.
“Saunders has come up with other excuses, he’s had plenty of excuses, but I am just going to go in there and do what I have to do.”