Billy Joe Saunders is ready to move forward with fight week.
The unbeaten two-division and reigning WBO super middleweight titlists claims that all matters are cleared up ahead of his three-belt unification clash with WBC/WBA champ and pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Saunders (30-0, 14KOs) and his father, Tommy made headlines after voicing their displeasure over the ring size being smaller than what they claim to have been contractually agreed upon, to the point of threatening to board a plane and head back to England.
Saunders remained in his hotel room in the greater Dallas area on Tuesday, taking to social media to demonstrate his protest while leaving Alvarez (55-1-2, 37KOs) to go solo for an assigned media session. The brash Brit later posted another video on his Instagram Live, this time with good news to share.
“I just want to say, I’m pleased the issue is sorted,” claimed Saunders, while lying in bed in his hotel room. “Obviously, as you can see, I tagged Canelo and [promoter] Eddie Hearn in my last video. The ring is not a problem. Thumbs are up.”
Alvarez has done his best to focus on Saturday’s unification clash, which streams live on DAZN from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The global superstar from Guadalajara, Mexico fights for the third time in less than five months, remaining on a quest to become undisputed super middleweight champion by the end of the year.
Saunders has done his best to disrupt the process at the start of fight week, with his team joining in on the festivities. Members of his camp mocked Team Alvarez upon their return to the event-assigned hotel, questioning when Alvarez would give in to Saunders’ demands for no smaller than a 22’ ring.
“What’s happening with the ring, man” taunted one member of Saunders’s camp as Alvarez and his team walked past them, as captured in a video provided by Barstool Sports. “Is [the fight] happening or not? We’ve come a long way, grow some. Grow some bollocks, mate. C’mon!”
The comments proved to be fighting words.
“You are a f---in’ p---y,” Alvarez shouted back, repeating the phrase as he and his squad headed back to their rooms. “P---y! P---y!”
While there was never a sense on the ground that the fight was ever in jeopardy, precautionary measures were already being suggested. Veteran super middleweight contender John Ryder informed British media that he was prepared to step in if necessary, as he was already en route to Dallas to attend the event while discussing his own future fight plans.
“I was always due to go out to Dallas,” Ryder told Sky Sports. “Eddie wanted me to get out there and do a bit of promotion, for my up-and-coming fight in June, so I was always heading out there. But I mean if he gives me the call, I'll pack the gum shield and protector. Listen, I'd do it outside the pub on a Saturday night for free, so put a bit of financial motivation behind it, definitely.
“I think it's smoke and mirrors. I think he's going to get what he wants.”
Saunders has previously alleged a lack of impartiality in the selection of the judges. The 31-year-old from Hatfield, England also expressed displeasure in his agreed-upon purse, claiming the payday was in line with a smaller event than what has since become the case. Upwards of 70,000 fans are expected to be in attendance, marking the largest crowd for a U.S. sporting event since the pandemic.
Alvarez and Saunders are both due to appear together at the final pre-fight press conference, which is scheduled to take place Thursday beginning at 12:00 p.m. local time.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox