BILLY JOE SAUNDERS has withdrawn from talks to face Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in September citing an inability to train properly.
The unbeaten WBO super-middleweight champion was set to defend his belt against the Mexican superstar in May, until the coronavirus pandemic KO'd the fight.
But now the virus looks to have completely ruled out Saunders from the career-defining bout as the southpaw has pulled out of negotiations with Canelo because he feels a full training camp cannot currently be achieved.
He told The Athletic: “I’m not ready (in) September. You can say to me, ‘Billy Joe, a billion pounds, but you’re not ready and you’re going to get beat.’ I would say keep it.
"Let me get ready, let me win and I will fight for free.
“I’m nobody’s stepping stone. I’m not another belt for Canelo. They want to try mind games; that don’t work with me, I play the biggest mind games in British boxing.”
Saunders had travelled to Spain with trainer Ben Davison and unified super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor to start training again.
But it was not enough to convince him that he would be full prepared to take on Canelo in just two months time.
Let me get ready, let me win and I will fight for free. I’m nobody’s stepping stone. I’m not another belt for Canelo.
And the two-division champion also revealed he was not offered the £6.4million deal originally quoted to face Alvarez.
Saunders said: “If they think they’re going to cut my money and cut me short, that’s not going to happen.
“Considering he’s getting $35million (£28m), they come to me for a pay cut in September? They want to get short notice and a pay cut. Why not him take a pay cut?”
Canelo looks set to now face a cheaper opponent in September, with reduced fans in attendance, before meeting middleweight rival Gennady Golovkin in a trilogy bout in December.
For Saunders, he wants a tune up fight in October before facing WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade, who he was meant to face in 2018 before the fight was axed after the Brit tested positive for the banned substance oxilofrine.
The 2008 Olympian was denied a licence by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission, despite putting the failed test down as a nasal spray, leaving a score to be settled.
Saunders added: “That’s the fight I would want, I would love the fight. There’s unfinished business with me and him.
“I think he’s a non-top fighter. When it’s gone his way he looks good, when not his way he can’t get going.
"When I fight him, we both have skills. It’ll be my heart vs. his heart.”
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