Billy Joe Saunders taunted and pointed at Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez during their first face-off on Wednesday night, causing them to be separated.
They will meet in a world super-middleweight title unification fight on Saturday night in Texas at the home of the Dallas Cowboys – Canelo’s WBA and WBC belts and Saunders’ WBO title are at stake.
Saunders’ father shouted at Canelo during a face-off: “You are facing defeat, young man, in the eyes.”
And Saunders told Canelo: “You’ve never been in the ring with someone like me. You’ve never seen anybody with this heart.”
Canelo replied in English as the tension rose: “You are going to see.”
As the Mexican was held back by his trainer Eddy Reynoso, Saunders repeated to him: “Walk away.”
The animosity has ratcheted up this week after altercations in the hotel between their respective teams which have caused Canelo to shout a response.
Saunders no-showed their first meeting of the week 24 hours earlier, leaving Canelo to pose alone at a media commitment, while they rowed about the dimensions of the ring they will meet in.
“The ring is not a problem,” Saunders finally said after threatening to call off the fight and fly home. “Thumbs up.”
Canelo had previously said: “I don’t care about the size of the ring. I’m just going to go there and do my job.
“It’s not the only excuse he’s had. He’s had plenty of excuses.”
Tyson Fury, meanwhile, has arrived in Texas to support his friend Saunders and told Matchroom’s YouTube channel: “100 per cent confident he will smash him.
“He will give him a boxing lesson, smash him, stop him in round 11 or 12.
“I’ve never been as confident about anything in my life.”
Saunders is undefeated in 30 and will try where Callum Smith, previously his fellow world champion with a perfect record, failed in December to bring down Canelo.
“This fight is all about the brain,” said Saunders. “Not about power, muscle or skill, it’s the brain and the game plan, and being able to execute that game plan.
“I brush opinions off because I know what goes through my head and my mind, and what I have done in my career is through the will and want to win, and the day I lose that, I won’t put a pair of gloves on again.
“I can only control what I am in control of and that myself, not what is outside the ring. It’s going to be a great fight. It’s one I’ve wanted for years and it’s finally landed. There’s a lot at stake for both of us. Would I like my fans there? Yes. Would I like UK media there? Yes. If the fight was moved to the Mexican border I wouldn’t care.
“I have my own way of approaching the fight and Canelo will have too, he’s done this nearly 60 times. I’ll get in there as the best that I can be and that’s all I can control.
“I’ve been the underdog before, I’ve been the away fighter before, it’s not a new position, but I’m just in with a better opponent this time.
“If I go in there and I win, I’m not going to run and say ‘never again’. I’ll fight him again, I’ll fight anyone, anywhere, it doesn’t bother me. It’s good for boxing sometimes when the underdogs come through, and I don’t just mean me here, because it puts the sport on a higher platform to be watched.
“I’m at the top of the tree where I’ve done it all as an amateur, I’ve had 30 fights, I’m unbeaten, won every title coming through, two-weight world champion – I can sit back at night and say I’m top of the pile fighting the pound-for-pound king.”