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Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders fight in jeopardy due to ring size dispute

Will Saunders not take the major payday due to the length of the squared circle?

Boxer Canelo Alvarez speaks during his hand and footprint ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre on March 20, 2021 in Hollywood, California. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

A super-fight to unify the super middleweight division of boxing is now in jeopardy, as WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders is threatening not to fight WBA, WBC, and The Ring champion Canelo Alvarez due to the size of the ring to be used.

Saunders wants a bigger squared circle, likely to be able to avoid the punching power of Alvarez and also have some room to maneuver. He says he’s been training in a 24-foot ring, but Alvarez’s attachments are looking for something in the 18-foot range.

Saunders father, Tom, added more detail to iFL TV: “Matchroom want us to box in an 18ft inner ring, then they’ve come back with a 20ft ring.

“It was supposed to be a 24ft ring. We’ve compromised and said no smaller than a 22ft inner ring.

“To face Canelo in an 18/20ft ring? That’s ridiculous. We’ve left it at 22ft, no lower. Inner ring has got to be 22ft otherwise we’re flying home.”

The fight is scheduled for this Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, where a large Mexican-American contingent will likely be rooting for Alvarez, he of the 55-1-2 career record. Perhaps the biggest sporting star in that nation, Saunders will be looking to dethrone a great champion on his de facto home turf.

But is he willing to give up the payday involved? Right now the least Saunders can make is $5 million including his pay-per-view share bonus, but his final tally could be much more. It will be the biggest check of his career, but he actually has to climb the ring stairs to earn it. Somehow we think this all gets worked out, and the bell rings on-time. There’s just too much cash on the line for it not to happen.

Right now Canelo Alvarez is a -770 favorite to win at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Saunders the +450 underdog.