Billy Joe Saunders skips face-off with Canelo Alvarez, threatens to pull out of fight over ring size dispute

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Billy Joe Saunders promised that, win or lose, he’d have no excuses after his planned fight on Saturday with boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez. Now, Saunders is threatening to not even step in the ring as a dispute has emerged over the size of the ring.

Saunders skipped the first face-off with Alvarez on Tuesday, and has said he will not fight in anything less than a 24-foot ring.

“There’s a little bit of a hiccup today that everyone’s trying to resolve,” Saunders told TALKsport. I’ve left that to my management team MTK who’s over here sorting it, it’s quite a big hiccup to be honest. The problem is I’ve come over here and they’re trying to chuck me in a phone box of a boxing ring. [The stadium] is hundreds and hundreds of feet long and they wanna stick an 16 [or] 18-foot ring in the middle of it.

“For me, that’s just unacceptable. I want a 24-foot 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. You can’t just fly me in here, show me the ring that we’re using. I’ve been training all of my camp in a 24-foot ring, it’s a unification fight, not a British title.”

Alvarez is set to defend his WBA and WBC super middleweight titles, while Saunders will put his WBO belt up for grabs.

This is hardly the first time a fighter has threatened to pull out of a fight at the last minute. In March, Dennis Hogan threatened to withdraw from his bout with Tim Tszyu over a dispute regarding which sponsors Hogan could have displayed on his trunks. Just last week, Dereck Chisora stormed out of the post-weigh-in ceremonies for his fight with Joseph Parker after refusing to walk to the ring second.

In both of those recent situations, the fight went ahead as planned, with the protesting fighter picking up the loss.

Saunders is currently a +550 underdog according to William Hill Sportsbook.

BoxingNewsED reported that John Ryder is flying to Texas as a back-up option.

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