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Billy Joe Saunders sends warning to Canelo Alvarez

Billy Joe Saunders sends warning to Canelo Alvarez
© Reuters
The pair face each other in a super-middleweight showdown in Texas this weekend.

Billy Joe Saunders questioned the will to win of Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's recent opponents as the Briton insisted his rival will be "bumping into the wrong man" in their super-middleweight showdown this weekend.

Alvarez, the WBC and WBA champion, is widely-regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet after a string of highly impressive wins that have brought him world titles in four separate weight classes.

Saunders, who traded barbs with his opponent in a tetchy staredown on Wednesday, did not seek to downplay what Alvarez has accomplished at the final pre-fight press conference ahead of their bout in Arlington, Texas.

However, the WBO champion thinks he will be Alvarez's first test in a long time, while hinting that his Mexican foe has forgotten the upbringing that saw him go from an unknown into arguably the world's biggest boxing star.

"There's no other reasons for me to be here apart from to win," Saunders said. "Not about fame or anything else, I'm here to win. I don't think we've had somebody come to win for a very long time.

"We've had a lot of people turn up, collect cheques and fly out but we haven't had the heart, soul and IQ that I'll bring to the ring on Saturday night to win.

"I can't talk what he's done down, he's done brilliant things for boxing. He's a good champion but there's a time in life where you get tested, sometimes when you forget where you've come from, and forget all those hard things, that's brought you to where you're at.

"Sometimes that can make it difficult on yourself. I think he's going to be bumping into the wrong man Saturday night to be going home with titles. I'm looking forward to a very good fight but most definitely the win."

The fight looked to be in a little jeopardy at the start of this week as a disagreement about the size of the boxing ring broke out, with Saunders' father Tom going so far as to claim the contest was "off" at one stage.

Saunders is expected to use his fine footwork to box and move, evading Alvarez's vaunted power, and was reportedly demanding a 24ft ring but the camps have come to a compromise and it seems a 22ft ring will be in use.

Saunders (30-0, 14KOs) at his absolute best is a slick and elusive counter-punching southpaw – the type of opponent Alvarez has struggled against in the past.

But Alvarez (55-1-2, 37KOs) said: "He's a great fighter, he has a lot of ability and he's a southpaw. I'm not the same fighter I was six or seven years ago, this Saturday I will show that.

"I've been involved in a lot of big fights and this is just another day at the office. I come to win, like I said boxing is my life and I come here to win."

It is anticipated 70,000 will be in attendance at the AT&T Stadium, the largest sports gathering in the United States since the outbreak of Covid-19 as well as setting a new benchmark for the highest indoor crowd in American boxing history.

Tom Saunders added: "This is what we've been waiting for, he's trained all his life for it. We've left no stone unturned and on fight night you're going to see something special.

"There's only one winner, that's Billy Joe Saunders. I've been speaking to a lot of people back home and the UK's right behind him. There's a lot of gypsy magic in this fight, there's a spell been cast so we'll definitely see something special."

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Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez pictured in 2016
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