Billy Joe Saunders finally went face-to-face with his opponent Canelo Alvarez ahead of their world super-middleweight title unification fight in Texas this weekend, after a furious row over the size of the ring was finally settled.
With promoter Eddie Hearn between them, the pair exchanged words despite the language barrier, with Saunders telling Canelo: ‘The gypsies are here.’
Saunders then taunted Canelo over his failed drug test in 2018, ahead of his fight against Gennady Golovkin.
Alvarez tested positive for traces of clenbuterol and blamed it on contaminated meat.
At their head-to-head Saunders said to his opponent: ‘You had loads of beef? The Mexican beef? You like that beef? You love the beef? Juicy beef?
Canelo Alvarez (left) and Billy Joe Saunders (right) finally went face-to-face on Wednesday
Saunders points a finger and laughs at Canelo as Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn looks on
Security stand between the pair as they exchange words ahead of Saturday’s big fight
‘You’ve never been in the ring with someone like me. Walk away, you walk away…’
Remaining unfazed by the torrent of words flying his way, Canelo responds simply by saying ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ before the pair were split up.
Earlier this week Canelo drew attention to Saunders’ own past failed drugs test. Saunders tested positive for oxilofrine prior to his fight against Demetrius Andrade in 2018, and blamed the result on using an inhaler. He was forced to vacate his middleweight title as a result.
Canelo said: ‘It was actually him who tested positive, twice actually. In my case, it was clenbuterol, the minimum, well, the content from the meat.
‘Which has been proven that now there are minimum requirements for boxers. It was actually him who tested positive twice.’
Saunders taunted his Mexican opponent ahead of the fight, which had seemed in doubt
Canelo remained unfazed by the volley of words thrown his way by the Englishman
Canelo is the huge favourite to win the unification bout in front of 70,000 fans in Texas
Saunders (right) is undefeated but will find himself up against his toughest opponent to date
Saunders is all set for the biggest bout of his career in front of 70,000 fans at the AT&T Stadium – the home of the Dallas Cowboys – but it looked at one point as though it may not go ahead for a bizarre reason.
The Englishman and his camp had taken exception to the 18-foot ring chosen for the fight, demanding it was enlarged to 24-foot. It has now been confirmed that the argument has been resolved, although it is as yet unclear how much bigger the ring will be than the initial 18-foot. Promoter Eddie Hearn has said it will be a 22-foot ring, while Saunders insisted Hearn has only made it 21-foot.
The row meant that the pair missed their initial face-off, with Saunders threatening to pull out of the fight, but they did finally stand head-to-head on Wednesday, just three days ahead of the big night.
The Mexican is the huge favourite to win the bout in Texas, with fellow British fighter Chris Eubank Jnr even placing a £10,000 bet on Canelo knocking out Saunders.