Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez v Billy Joe Saunders: Mexican warns bout is “more personal”

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Alvarez arrived for his Texas fight on a private jet
Date: 8 May (9 May UK) Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Belts: WBC & WBA world super-middleweight titles (Alvarez), WBO belt (Saunders)
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and live text commentary on BBC Sport website at around 0400 BST

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez says Billy Joe Saunders’ pursuit of him has made Saturday’s fight “more personal”.

The Mexican, 30, has been called out in recent years by Britain’s Saunders, who insists he can land a shock win.

Saunders did not turn up for the first face-to-face of the week and is angry about the size of Saturday’s ring.

“It’s always been 20ft and now he wants 24ft,” Alvarez told 5 Live Boxing. “If he wants I will give him the whole stadium. I don’t care.”

“It’s a little more personal,” added Alvarez, who will risk his WBC and WBA world super-middleweight titles while Saunders puts his WBO belt on the line.

“He’s been talking a lot about me for the last four years. In a couple of days it will happen and it’s a little more personal.”

When the pair did meet face-to-face for the first time on Wednesday, Saunders goaded Alvarez and warned his rival “you have not seen someone with this heart”.

‘A rare breed’ – analysis

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders
Saunders (right) did not turn up for media obligations on Tuesday but faced Alvarez on Wednesday

BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello:

At times, Alvarez glared at us across the Zoom divide but also found room to smile, indications of a man so at ease and in control of his emotions on the doorstep of a big fight.

Tyson Fury has said Saunders and his ilk are a different breed. Canelo is a rare one too.

‘I have no worries’

Saturday’s bout – which will take place in front of more than 60,000 fans at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium – will be aired on BBC Radio 5 Live at around 04:00 BST on Sunday morning.

Alvarez says he can recall “very few” occasions where he has felt this way about an opponent.

Saunders’ team have pushed for the use of a bigger ring as his evasive style would benefit from added space in which he could move.

Alvarez says Saunders’ style will prove “complicated” but he does not expect surprises from his rival, adding: “I don’t see anything that would worry me.

“At this level I have to adapt to anything and I will be ready for anything. I know his qualities and know he’s an elusive fighter but I trained 100% for this to show I’m in my best moment right now.”

Saunders – unbeaten in 30 contests – is a betting underdog against a fighter who has lost just once in 58 fights.

Alvarez admits he will go after the fourth significant belt at super-middleweight if he beats Saunders.

His rise from entering the sport after being bullied while selling ice creams as a teenager has seen him win world titles in four weight categories across a professional career spanning almost 16 years.

“I love boxing and what I do,” he added. “It’s something to show people you can reach your goals and do big things. I used to sell popsicles and look at what I have done now. It’s good to show people.”

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