BILLY JOE SAUNDERS has threatened to quit Saturday’s super-fight with Canelo over the size of the ring.
England’s 31-year-old WBO super-middleweight champion has flown to Texas to take on Mexico’s WBC, WBA and pound-for-pound king in his backyard in front of 70,000 of his fans.
And the up-against-it southpaw insists he has just been told the ring has been cut down from the 24x24ft space he was promised to an 18×18 ‘phonebox’ that plays right into the powerhouse’s heavy hands.
The 30-0 Hatfield ace told talkSPORT: “The problem is I’ve come over here and they’re trying to chuck me in a phonebox of a boxing ring.
“The stadium is hundreds and hundreds of feet long and they wanna stick an 18ft 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.
“I’ve left it to my team and I’m sure they’ll resolve it, otherwise there won’t be any fight.”
Saunders refused to take the big-money fight on five weeks’ notice at the end of last year – allowing fellow Brit Callum Smith to step in and lose – and instead spent ten weeks away from his young family training in Fuerteventura to be at his best for this weekend.
Under trainer Mark Tibbs he says he has spent the whole time preparing for a large ring to best utilise his brilliant footwork and avoid the 30-year-old’s brutal blows.
And he insists he will not bow down to the biggest draw in boxing and accept unfair terms just for a life-changing pay cheque.
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“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.
“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.”
Tyson Fury faced a similar problem in 2015 when he went to Germany to face Wladimir Klitschko and threw his support behind his fellow Traveller.
The Gypsy King was happy with the 24×24 ring he found in Dusseldorf but threatened to fly home when extra thick padding was found under the canvas, which would have seriously hampered his masterful movement.
The 6ft 9in WBC champion won the row and had the ring ripped up before bamboozling the ten-year champion.
And he has called on the Texas commission and promoter Eddie Hearn to give his pal a fair shake.
“I’ve just got off the phone to Billy Joe and it seems they are trying a lot of tricks over here in Texas with him,” he said from his Las Vegas camp.
“I just want to say, you can try all the tricks in the m***** f***ing* world but you ain’t going to beat Billy Joe.
“Play fair guys, play f***ing fair now”.