Fight week is well and truly underway in Texas as Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders already know each other quite well.
Arguments about ring sizes, insults, and threats to walk away have made sure day one was a fiery affair and that all eyes were on this fight.
Canelo touched down at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington to meet the media. What he encountered was typical disruption you’d expect from a member of the Tyson Fury Club.
Saunders and Fury go back years, and it’s no secret that the latter, an undefeated heavyweight champion, is a master of mind games.
He did it to Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 and again to Deontay Wilder in 2020. It’s a trademark passed on to Saunders.
Here’s @bjsaunders_ camp taunting @Canelo on his way to the gym. They are insisting on a 22 foot wide ring. #CaneloSaunders #demands pic.twitter.com/NM02E7vSl4
— Large (@LargeBarstool) May 4, 2021
Canelo vs. Saunders is a blockbuster unification fight taking place on Saturday night – a fight that has been some years in the making.
Alvarez and Saunders lock horns at the home of the Dallas Cowboys for the WBC and WBO titles on Cinco De Mayo weekend.
Despite an argument over the ring size, which got resolved after several hours of uncertainly, the Mexican told reporters he is laser-focused on the task ahead against the unbeaten Brit.
“He thinks he’ll give me a boxing lesson?” said Alvarez. “We’ll see. I am not the same guy I was five or six years ago. But I have experience. I am a more mature fighter.
“So he can say whatever he wants, on Saturday night, he is in a different level of fight. I hope that I don’t need the judges on the night.”
During the night, Saunders threatened to fly home, and a replacement was on standby to fly stateside.
The pound-for-pound king wouldn’t let anything phase him at this stage, though.
“Nothing frustrates me. I am focused on winning on Saturday. He has to fight me on Saturday. That has to happen. It’s not a problem,” he pointed out.
“I don’t care about anything; I am just going to go in there and do my job.
“Saunders has come up with other excuses, he’s had plenty of excuses, but I am just going to go in there and do what I have to do.”
Trainer Eddy Reynoso added: “We have faced everyone, lefties, righties, champions, former champions, so to us, this is nothing new.”
Choosing not to speak to the media but to address his fans on social media, Saunders stated he had resolved the disagreement.
But those who can be present in Texas can expect a few more shenanigans throughout the coming days, especially when Fury himself turns up to support his friend.
Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America since 2018. And a member of the Sports Journalists’ Association. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.