Saul Canelo Alvarez’s trainer Eddy Reynoso is fed up with the complaining by Billy Joe Saunders about the judges and the ring size for Saturday’s fight at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
On Wednesday, Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KOs) finally relented, giving Saunders a 22-foot ring that he wants to fight in their main event on DAZN.
Canelo and Reynoso know that Saunders is going to use the extra-large ring to try and run around all night and spoil instead of coming to fight.
Interestingly, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn revealed that the largest ring that Saunders has fought in as a pro is 20-foot, which suggests that he wants to get much extra footage as possible to play keep away from Canelo on Saturday.
It seems clear that Saunders had designs on pulling his shenanigans all along because he says he trained in a 24-foot ring for the fight instead of the normal 20-footer.
It would have been nice if Saunders had told Hearn during the negotiations for the fight that he had to have a 24 or 22-foot ring for the fight instead of waiting until the week of the contest to inform them that he wanted an extra-large ring.
Reynoso now says they’ve given Saunders want he wants with the ring, but he’s not going to be able to run out of the ring.
Saunders can’t run out of the ring
“We’re ready to win, and we’re ready to fight on Saturday,” said Canelo’s trainer Eddy Reynoso to Behind The Gloves.
“It’s disrespectful to us, it’s disrespectful to the fans and disrespectful for the promotion because then the fans question whether the fight is going to happen or not. I just think it’s a sign of disrespect from him and his people.
“The fight is going to happen, we’re going to give him what he wants. It’s not a big deal. He cannot run out of the ring, that’s the message we have for him,” said Reynoso.
Saunders will likely use the large ring to stay on the move as he did in his fights with David Lemieux and Chris Eubank Jr. For the fans that have forgotten how much movement Saunders used against Lemieux in their fight in 2017, here’s a video of the match:
Canelo likely didn’t know what he’s getting himself into when he agreed to give Saunders the 22-foot ring that he’s asking for.
It’s going to be an ugly track meet on Saturday, and it could anger a lot of boxing fans. The amount of movement that Saunders will be using will be far beyond anything Canelo has ever seen before during his career.
Erislandy Lara and Floyd Mayweather Jr were stationary against Canelo compared to what Saunders will be doing.
Gongora and Ryder were on standby
“It should be a little bit edgy, it should be a little bit controversial, ” said promoter Eddie Hearn who has no problems with Saunders showing no disrespect to Canelo.
“This fight is going to build, build and build. Billy is unpredictable, and that’s in and out of the ring. He wanted a 24-foot ring.
Billy Joe has never boxed in a ring bigger than 20 foot inside the ropes. So I felt that was more than fair, more than proficient, but he didn’t.
“Ultimately, it was put on Canelo, and he had every right to say, ‘No.’ But then we’re like, ‘Are we going to put [Carlos] Gongora in?’
“He’s a good fighter, Gongora. I told John Ryder, ‘Bring your gear,’ and Carlos Gongora wanted to come, and I said, ‘Bring your stuff.’
“We’re Wednesday and still have Thursday and Friday; anything can happen. But in a fight like this, you need Plan-B and Plan-C, especially with Billy,” said Hearn.
Carlos Gongora would have been an excellent replacement for Canelo to fight if he’d stood his ground with Saunders and refused to give him the 22-foot ring.
If Canelo had stuck with the original 18-foot ring, Saunders would have realized that he would have been forced to stand and fight.
Several thousand fans expected for weigh-in
“There can be no excuses in this fight,” said Hearn about the Canelo vs. Saunders fight. “It’s one of the biggest boxing crowds in the U.S.
“You’ll never see anything atmosphere-wise like you’ll see in there. It’s going to be wild. Billy is going to try and get in his head. There’s a lot of tension.
It’s free entry,” said Hearn about the weigh-in for Canelo vs. Saunders. “I hope there are [10,000 fans that show up].
“There’s going to be several thousand. 10 [thousand] would be amazing. So if you’re in Texas, we’ll see you on Friday for the free weigh-in,” Hearn said of the Canelo vs. Saunders fight.
Hearn would like to see 10,000 show up for Friday’s weigh-in, but it’s doubtful that many will show. It’s not a big enough fight to attract a crowd of that size.
If Canelo were fighting welterweight Errol Spence Jr, David Benavidez, Jermall Charlo, or Jermell Charlo, the weigh-in would almost surely bring in 10,000 fans.
Hearn believes Saunders would have flown home
“I went to bed on Monday night,” said Hearn talking about when he found out saunders was unhappy with the ring size.
“You know when you wake up at two o’clock in the morning at night, and I thought, ‘Let me check my phone.’ And I thought, ‘Don’t check your phone because you need sleep.’
“I checked my phone and it was all about this and the ring and he’s [Saunders] not fighting. They were telling me to book their flights.
“The amount of people that were telling me, ‘Yeah, he [Saunders] wouldn’t have gone.’ I’m telling you now Tom Saunders and Billy Joe Saunders would have flown home.
“If I had said to Canelo, ‘Is this a problem for you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, it is a problem, actually. We have to do it under Commission rules, that’s 16 inside the ropes. We’ve given him 20. No, stand,’ but he just went, ‘I couldn’t give a s***.’
“I thought, ‘Thank God,’ I could have cuddled him because I thought, ‘We’re on.’ All good, good luck to both men,” said Hearn.
With the massive $7 million paydays Saunders is getting for the fight with Canelo, he wouldn’t have flown home, no way. What Saunders would have done is avoid talking during the press conferences and the weigh-in.
He likely would have vetoed any face-offs with Canelo, which would have hurt the promotion.