Saunders says Hearn has agreed to 21-ft ring, but he wants 22-ft
By Scott Gilfoid: Billy Joe Saunders says Eddie Hearn has agreed to increase the ring size from 20 to 21 for the Canelo Alvarez fight on Saturday, but he still wants the 22-foot ring that he’s asking for.
Saunders says the promotional side is going to be hurt if he doesn’t get his 22-foot ring because he’ll only give ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ answers at the preferences if he doesn’t get his way.
Billy Joe states that he trained for the fight in a 24-foot ring, and he wasn’t prepared to fight in an 18 or 20-foot ring.
For that reason, he’s willing to fight in a 22-footer, but not the 20, and apparently he’s not interested in fighting in a 21-foot ring either
In the meantime, John Ryder and Carlos Gongora have reportedly flown out for one of them to be the potential replacement for Saunders if he refuses to go through with the fight.
Gongora would arguably be a HUGE upgrade over Saunders talent-wise, but he doesn’t have the WBO belt that Canelo wants.
If Matchroom is going to replace Saunders, they need to do it soon so that the boxing public can feel confident the fight will go ahead.
Right now, there’s much uncertainty on the fans’ part on whether Canelo will be fighting on Saturday due to Saunders holding out for his 22-foot ring.
Saunders says Hearn has increased ring to 21-feet
“I’ve been training in a 24 foot ring. Eddie said, ‘We don’t do 22s foot, we only do 20s,’ so why would you put a 20-foot ring in for Callum Smith and an 18-foot ring in for me,” said Saunders to iFL TV.
“Every fighter knows you train in the same office that you’re going to be working in. John Ryder, a guy that I beat in 2014, if they want to fly him out [as a replacement], no problem, but it won’t be for my belt.
“Two foot we’re arguing about. Eddie has gone to 21 foot, so we’re arguing over a foot. Why should I be worried about arguing over one foot,” said Saunders,
It’s surprising that Canelo agreed to give Saunders another foot because he’s the A-side in the promotional. The size of the ring wasn’t written into the contract for the fight, so Saunders and Canelo slipped up by failing to have this in there.
From this point on, you can bet that Matchroom will have ring size and who walks out first included in every fight contract to avoid a fighter dragging their feet the way Saunders is and putting the main event in doubt.
Billy Joe talks about what he’ll do if he doesn’t get his way
“But in doing so, it’s affecting the promotional side of things because the only thing I’m going to do is turn up to a press conference and it’s going to be ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers and maybe a nod of the head,” said Saunders in talking about him potentially using passive-aggressive tactics if he doesn’t get his way with the 22-foot ring.
“I’ll go back to my hotel room, weigh in and fight. This has to be agreed in good faith rather than us have to fight for it, because even if we did it, I’ll guarantee I’ll just turn up at the press conferences and do that.
“So let’s get it done, get it sorted, and not act like children. It doesn’t bother me. I’ll just sit here resting up and watching films. Let’s not have an argument over a foot.
“I’m only asking for an even playing field. I’ve trained in a 24-foot ring, but then you want to put me in an 18-foot ring.
“It doesn’t really sound fair to me,” said Saunders in forgetting to add that Canelo compromised to fight in a 20-foot ring.
“When you hear you’re fighting at AT&T Stadium, you don’t expect a phone booth to be put in that big pitch.
“It’s mind games that won’t work for me and tricks that won’t work for me. The size of the ring will be measured before we get in there, end of,” said Saunders.
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