CANELO ALVAREZ reckons 90 per cent of Brits wants to see him batter Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday.
Mexico’s WBC, WBA and pound-for-pound king faces Britain’s undefeated 30-0 WBO champ in his Texas backyard in a red-hot clash.
Over the years Saunders, 31, has hounded the 30-year-old over his ginger hair and his 2018 doping ban – which he blamed on contaminated beef – with the softly-spoken four-weight icon choosing to ignore his abuse.
In 2017, at a London press conference to promote Canelo vs Gennady Golovkin I, Saunders gatecrashed the event and hurled abuse at his potential rival in person.
Now, after rows over the 70,000 crowd, the judging panel and the ring size, Canelo admitted he is extra motivated to hurt Saunders, rather than just defeat him, and he believes most of the UK are on his side.
When Eddie Hearn asked Canelo about Saunders’ popularity on his podcast, he said: “90 per cent of the people don’t like him.
“This fight is different because he has four years talking s*** about me.
“Before the first Golovkin fight he was there talking s*** about me. That’s why it is different for me.
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“I’m the same way. My mind is calm. Saturday night it is going to be different, he is in a different level fight now. He’s going to see what is going to happen.
“This isn’t like [Martin] Murray or other guys he has fought before. I feel a little better, that motivates me more.”
When Hearn asked if he is excited at the prospect of driving his heavy hands into Saunders, he growled: “Yeah. I feel excited, different.”
Inside the ring, Saunders is a supremely gifted southpaw who has won WBO world titles at both middle and super-middle.
And Canelo – who was outboxed in his only defeat to Floyd Mayweather in 2013 – has looked most uncomfortable against elusive lefties like Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara, either side of that sole defeat.
But the 55-1-2 powerhouse insists Saunders is fighting a totally different kettle of fish to the one that lost rounds to Trout.
Canelo said: “In boxing there are hard fights and difficult fights
“This is going to be a difficult fight for me because of his style, really difficult.
“But I’m not the same guy from six years ago, I feel in my prime, I feel more comfortable.
“I feel more mature and have more experience in the ring. I will show it on Saturday.”