Canelo accused of “WWE-style sand ring” after Saunders size row

Canelo Alvarez Billy Joe Saunders

Michelle Farsi

Pound for Pound king Canelo Alvarez faced accusations of making a ring too cushioned after becoming embroiled in a ring size row with Billy Joe Saunders.

Canelo was non-plussed in Dallas as Saunders threatened to walk out of their battle during fight week. The Briton said he stipulated a 22-foot squared circle only to be met by a 20-foot one.

The stipulation caused one-sided friction as Canelo told Saunders in no uncertain terms that he didn’t care and would knock him out in any sized ring.

After eight rounds at the Cowboys Stadium, that promised came true.

But now, going back to a 2013 collision with Austin Trout at the Alamodome in San Antonio, former world champion Julian Williams revealed another story.

Williams fought on the bill when defeating Dashon Johnson in three rounds. He wasn’t happy with that ring either.

“I fought on the undercard of Canelo vs. Trout, and they gave Trout a huge ring (I don’t know the exact size),” explained Williams. “But the cushion of the ring felt like I was fighting in the sand,” he pointed out.

“The size of the ring and thickness of the mat matters! Trout is a gat for rumbling twelve rounds strong on that WWE ring cushion.”

Canelo Alvarez Austin Trout
Golden Boy / DAZN


Eventually taking a wide decision, Canelo unified the super-welterweight division with the victory. There would undoubtedly be arguments that whatever the ring entails, it’s the same for both men.

Working his way to the very pinnacle of the sport and now the number one name and face, these are the kinds of stipulations Canelo can make.

He’s the next coming of Floyd Mayweather in the sense that he chooses who and when he fights. And on which network and for how much.

It’s a powerful position to be in for a boxer. But judging by what happened with Saunders, the mind games and upset tactics didn’t work.

Canelo went in there and did what he does best, dominating the opposition and taking belts into the bargain.

The crosshairs fixate on securing Caleb Plant for a September undisputed unification next. Don’t expect to be any talk of cushions or sizes for that one.

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.