Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez was the epitome of composure in the media presentation ahead of Saturday's huge bout with Billy Joe Saunders, who insisted: "I have come here to win."

In a long-awaited fight that has seen a feisty build-up – including a dispute over the size of the ring and a fiery photoshoot on Wednesday in which tempers threatened to boil over – Canelo and Saunders will meet in Arlington.

Approximately 70,000 spectators, the largest crowd in the United States since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and the largest ever for an indoor boxing event in the country, will flock to the AT&T Stadium to witness the unification clash.

Mexican Canelo holds the WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles after victories over Callum Smith and Avni Yildirim – the latter fight clearing the way for a meeting with undefeated WBO champion Saunders.

Canelo has won 55 professional fights, 37 by knock-out. There were little signs of any complacency from the 30-year-old, but he coolly declared: "I've been involved in a lot of big fights; this is just another day at the office.

"I come to win; boxing is my life. I come here to win.

"I'm excited for this fight. He's a great fighter, he has a lot of ability and he's also a southpaw, but I'm not the same fighter of six or seven years ago and on Saturday I'll show that."

Saunders, on the other hand, is convinced Canelo is about to meet his match.

"I've been boxing since I was five years old, I've been dragged up. We can all have the rough, tough talks from growing up as kids but I'm here for a reason and there's no other reason for me to be here apart from win. Not about fame, anything else, publicity – win," he said.

"I don't think we've had somebody come to win for a very long time. We've had lots of people fly in, turn up, collect checks and fly out, but we haven't had the heart and soul and the IQ that I will bring to the table and to the ring, 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 come from, forget all those hard things that have brought you to where you're at, sometimes that can make it difficult on yourself, and I think he's bumping into the wrong man on Saturday to be walking away with those titles."

Billy Joe Saunders knows he must "turn the boxing world upside down" to beat Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in their super-middleweight unification bout.

Undefeated WBO champion Saunders takes on WBC and WBA title-holder Canelo at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday.

The Mexican is the clear favourite, but Saunders is ready to upset the odds.

"I'm certainly, most definitely going in there as the underdog in many, many people's eyes," he told Stats Perform.

"It's about self-belief; I wouldn't be here if I was thinking that I wasn't going to go home with the win, anything but.

"I'm very excited to get in the ring now and showcase my skills off to the world.

"I don't really watch opponents, watch glimpses of them. I've seen him for many, many years. He's a complete fighter. I know what's got to be done.

"He's a brilliant fighter, got to rate him. He's down as pound-for-pound king, so it's my turn to turn the boxing world upside down."

Saunders insists a partisan Cinco de Mayo weekend crowd will not negatively impact his performance – "it will spur me on," he says – but he has repeatedly referred to potential issues with the judges.

The 30-0 Briton has stated he will start the fight "three rounds down" on the scorecards, while his father suggested there was a dispute over the size of the ring.

"That all got sorted out," Saunders said, adding: "He's a brilliant boxer, I'm a brilliant boxer. It’s all on a level playing field."

But Saunders, when asked how he could beat Canelo, said: "I don't want to say that. You'll find out on Saturday night.

"I don't want to give too much away. I know what I've got to do to get the edge.

"I just want to be treated fairly and hopefully the judges score it for how they see it and not how they hear it."

Tyson Fury is ready to give Anthony Joshua a "good hiding" and revealed to promoter Eddie Hearn exactly how he will take down the reigning IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion.

A deal is in place for the pair to fight twice, though a location is yet to be disclosed, with Joshua describing Wembley as "ideal".

Fury, nicknamed the Gypsy King, is the WBC champion after dethroning Deontay Wilder last year and is full of confidence ahead of what is primed to be a spectacular double-header.

"I can't wait to get the big dosser in the ring and give him a good hiding," he said on Hearn's podcast, No Passion No Point.

"Prove to the world what a fake he is and that there's only one dominant heavyweight champion – the Gypsy King.

"Undefeated, indestructible, unbeatable – never will lose a fight in the history of this sport, ever. I will retire with the crown."

Asked by Hearn if he thought this would be "an easy fight," Fury replied: "100 per cent, I cannot be beat by a fighter.

"A normal fighting man cannot beat the Gypsy King. The only person that can beat the Gypsy King is me.

"AJ couldn't lace my boots, definitely not."

Hearn declared his belief that Joshua would prevail and Fury credited him with turning the Briton into a "superstar boxer", but said defeat was inevitable for the 31-year-old.

"Your boy, you've built him up from scratch, you've done an absolutely fantastic job by the way, congratulations to you and your team," Fury said.

"You took an amateur boxer and made him into a superstar boxer and the finished article.

"It's just a shame that he has to be in the same era as the Gypsy King."

And Fury even went as far as to describe exactly how he would get the job done.

"When I say I will smash him to pieces and it won't be a tough fight, like I said I was gonna knock Wilder out and I did, I'm gonna say it here again – I will cut Anthony Joshua down like a hot knife through cheese," he said.

"That's how easy it's gonna be. When he gets cracked with all them muscles right in the jaw, he will go.

"I will tell you even what punch it's gonna be, I'll even give my game plan away.

"It'll be a check left hook straight to the temple. His legs will go and he'll fall on his face.

"He may get back up and then I'll knock him out with the overhand right, goodnight."

Anthony Joshua has declared Wembley would be an "ideal" venue for the first of his two fights against fellow heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury.

Promoter Eddie Hearn this week said the location of the upcoming fight had been agreed by both fighters, but he did not disclose where it would take place.

A deal is in place for the pair to fight twice before the end of the year, with Fury invited to sign off the arrangements after talks with Hearn in Las Vegas.

Joshua holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, while the unbeaten Fury is the WBC champion after dethroning Deontay Wilder last year.

Saudi Arabia has been mooted as a potential location for the fight and may still stage the first clash, even if Joshua would love to tackle Fury in London. He has previously fought both at Wembley Stadium and in the adjacent SSE Arena.

"I've signed my side of the deal," Joshua told ITV's Jonathan Ross show.

"We've sent him a good offer, one I'm sure he won't refuse. He wants the fight, no doubt about it, so do I and more than me and him, the whole public want it. I put my crystal ball out there and I say it's going to happen this year 100 per cent."

Joshua added, according to several UK newspapers: "I'm pretty sure it'll be this year. End of July, early August.

"Where? That's what's the delay, because of this pandemic. We want to have people coming to the venue. It's just finding the right location. For me, Wembley would be ideal."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said last week that the English capital is ready to host the lucrative fight, despite the restrictions in the country amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A number of pilot events are taking place with spectators, in the hope crowds can return to normal capacity levels in the near future.

Snooker's 17-day World Championship began in Sheffield on Saturday with indoor crowds limited initially to one-third capacity, but there are plans for a full house come the final in May. Hearn's father, Barry Hearn, is the chairman of World Snooker.

Fury's most recent three bouts have all been staged in Las Vegas while Joshua reclaimed his titles from Andy Ruiz Jr in a rematch held in Saudi Arabia in December 2019.

The 2012 Olympic gold medal winner fought once in 2020, with Joshua beating Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in front of a restricted number of fans.

Eddie Hearn has revealed Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have agreed on a location for a summer showdown between the two heavyweight world champions.

The rivals have a deal in place to face each other twice in 2021, though a venue and date had yet to be agreed for the first meeting.

However, having said recently he planned to present "three or four" options to both teams, Matchroom promoter Hearn confirmed on Thursday that a site has been approved and negotiations are "in a great place", having sat down with Fury while the pair have been in Las Vegas.

Joshua holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, while the unbeaten Fury is the WBC champion after dethroning Deontay Wilder last year.

"I don't want to talk too much about it because I think people are bored of me talking," Hearn said in an interview with Behind The Gloves.

"All I will tell you – which I haven't said to anyone yet – is that both sides have approved the site offer they want to go with. Now we are just finalising the site deal and we are in a great place.

"I saw Tyson yesterday. We had five or 10 minutes together – and it was good.

"I don't represent Tyson, so I don't know what is in his mind. What he basically cemented in my mind is that this is the only fight he wants. I know that is the same with AJ.

"We've got the offer, we all approve and we are moving forward now. We're good. I'm not going to go into where it is going to be held, but it has been agreed by both sides over the option we will take. You will get the date very soon, plus the official announcement."

Hearn also made clear that the original plan still remains in place, meaning a bout midway through 2021 will be followed by a rematch before the end of the year.

"There is no option for this fight to go at the back end of the year," Hearn said.

"That's been the hardest thing about securing the site deal ... in this world we live in today, most people would like to kick it to November or December. That's not available. It was never available.

"What was available was a summer fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship. That is what you’re going to get.

"Both guys want two fights this year – one will be in the summer, one will be in December. That's the plan."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said last week that the English capital is ready to host the lucrative fight, despite the restrictions in the country amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Fury's most recent three bouts have all been staged in Las Vegas while Joshua reclaimed his titles from Andy Ruiz Jr in a rematch held in Saudi Arabia in December 2019.

The 2012 Olympic gold medal winner fought once in 2020, with Joshua beating Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in front of a restricted number of fans.

Anthony Joshua declared there is "no place to hide" for Tyson Fury after the first official offer to stage their heavyweight unification fight was lodged.

Promoter Eddie Hearn last week revealed he plans to present "three or four offers" to the respective teams of Joshua and Fury for an eagerly awaited unification bout.

Negotiations over a blockbuster showdown between the British duo have been ongoing for several months, with Hearn revealing a two-fight deal has been signed.

WBA, WBO and IBF champion Joshua has provided a positive update as he eyes Fury's WBC belt.

"Positive news this evening! I'm lacing up my running boots rn [sic]!!!" Joshua posted on social media.

"@258MGT and @Matchroomboxing have received the first official offer to host the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship Of The WORLD! I will be victorious God Willing!

"No place to hide now! IM [sic] COMING."

John Fury - Tyson's father – recently expressed his concerns over the ongoing negotiations in an interview with Boxing Social, citing the financial difficulties due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hearn, Joshua's promoter, tweeted on Sunday: "Busy day today and a long night ahead!"

Eddie Hearn plans to present "three or four offers" to the respective teams of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury for their heavyweight showdown – and he remains confident the bout will happen.

The British rivals have yet to finalise a date or destination for the first of potentially two fights between the pair in 2021.

Fury - who holds the WBC belt following his impressive win over Deontay Wilder - tweeted a picture saying "the clock is ticking" on Wednesday, along with the words "three days left".

Meanwhile, John Fury - Tyson's father – aired his concerns over the ongoing negotiations in an interview with Boxing Social, citing the financial difficulties in the current climate following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, promoter Hearn has made clear there are proposals ready to be put on the table before he leaves each side to work out which is the best option available.

"At the end of this week, both fighters and the teams will be presented with all the offers and options on the table, of which there will be multiple ones," Hearn told Sky Sports.

"We're in a good place. I saw John Fury's comments. It's almost like they don't really want the fight. I'd like them to talk it up, rather than talk it down.

"We're quite aware that there has been a global pandemic. We're quite aware that it's not easy, but we're out there grafting away every day to get this done. A little support would be nice, John and Tyson, thank you very much.

"But there will be three or four offers presented to both camps this weekend, then it's over to them to discuss which one they want to take.

"It is a summer fight, that's everything we are working towards. I'm as confident as ever that this gets done.

"I know that there are some negative people out there and people that believe we can't pull it off, but we spend a lifetime pulling things off. I believe we will get this done, and I believe you will see this fight in the summer."

Joshua is the reigning WBA, WBO and IBF champion, having successfully defended his titles with a ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in December.

The unbeaten Fury, meanwhile, has not fought since his rematch with Wilder in Las Vegas in February 2020.

Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have signed a two-fight deal to face each other for the undisputed heavyweight championship, promoter Eddie Hearn has announced.

British rivals Joshua and Fury have been in negotiations for several months to agree showdowns for the four major belts in boxing's glamour division.

Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) holds the WBA, WBO and IBF belts, having successfully defended his title with a ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in December.

Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) sensationally dethroned Deontay Wilder to claim the WBC crown in February last year but has not boxed since.

A date and venue for the initial encounter are yet to be confirmed, although Hearn – who promotes Joshua under his Matchroom Sport banner – told ESPN on Monday that both parties put pen to paper over the weekend.

"We'd like to get a site deal confirmed in the next month," Hearn said.

"The hard part is always getting everybody to put pen to paper. But this was a major effort from all parties to get this over the line.

"You had rival promoters, rival networks and rival fighters."

The hurdles to overcome in getting to this point were not inconsiderable, with Fury working under a co-promotional deal with Frank Warren and Bob Arum's Top Rank, both of whom have rival broadcasting agreements to Hearn's contracts with Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN globally.

Fury's most recent bouts have been aired by BT Sport in his homeland and via ESPN in the United States.

The expectation of ongoing coronavirus restrictions makes the prospect of at least the first fight taking place on British soil feel far-fetched, with a return of heavyweight title boxing to the Middle East – where Joshua avenged his only career defeat against Andy Ruiz Jr with a December 2019 points win in Saudi Arabia – appearing most likely.

"I actually feel we've done the hard part," Hearn said. "Speaking for myself, Anthony and his team at 258 management, I know how hard we've worked hard these last couple of months and I just feel that this fight is so big it's not a difficult sell.

"We've already had approaches from eight or nine sites. The offers have come from multiple countries in the Middle East, from Asia, eastern Europe and America.

"This is the biggest fight in boxing and one of the biggest sporting events in the world. It will be a major, major win for a country that wants to showcase itself."

Some typically idiosyncratic interviews from Fury over recent days, where he stated he had no interest in boxing in the UK again, while claiming to have stopped training in favour of "concentrating on getting me 10 pints of Stella", appeared to cast some doubt upon the Joshua fights getting over the line – especially considering the 32-year-old's previously well-documented struggles with alcohol and depression.

"You never really know with Tyson," Hearn said. "It could be mind games. He could be having a bad day. He could be a little p***** off. Or he could be having a joke.

"One of the fascinations about this fight will be the build-up because they're two totally different characters, two totally different personalities. The mind games will be on another level for this fight. Tyson is very good at that.

"Anthony is excited by that. He's so pumped, so focused, he hasn't stopped training since the Pulev fight. He's like a caged lion. The build-up is going to be epic."

Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have signed a two-fight deal to face each other for the undisputed heavyweight championship, promoter Eddie Hearn has announced.

British rivals Joshua and Fury have been in negotiations for several months to agree showdowns for the four major belts in boxing's glamour division.

Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) holds the WBA, WBO and IBF belts, having successfully defended his title with a ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in December.

Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) sensationally dethroned Deontay Wilder to claim the WBC crown in February last year but has not boxed since.

A date and venue for the initial encounter are yet to be confirmed, although Hearn – who promotes Joshua under his Matchroom Sport banner – told ESPN on Monday that both parties put pen to paper over the weekend.

"We'd like to get a site deal confirmed in the next month," Hearn said.

"The hard part is always getting everybody to put pen to paper. But this was a major effort from all parties to get this over the line.

"You had rival promoters, rival networks and rival fighters."

Juan Francisco Estrada unified the WBC and WBA super-flyweight titles with a thrilling split-decision win over Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez.

Estrada earned a narrow victory after an all-action bout at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on Saturday.

The Mexican saw two judges score the fight in his favour (117-111 and 115-113), while another saw it 115-113 to Gonzalez.

It saw Estrada retain his WBC crown and add Gonzalez's WBA title to his collection, gaining some revenge for his loss to the Nicaraguan in late 2012.

"I think I did enough to win," Estrada told DAZN after his win.

"'Chocolatito' is a great fighter, I think he deserves the trilogy."

Gonzalez told DAZN: "Whatever happened had to happen but I gave it a good fight.

"I would've been happy either way with a result, I did my work."

Estrada and Gonzalez put on a show, combining to throw more than 2,500 punches.

The pair went at each other from the outset, both landing big shots during a wild fourth round.

Neither slowed down and the all-action fight went the distance before Estrada was awarded the split-decision win.

Whenever boxing's matchmakers put together a bout that promises fireworks and destructive drama from the opening bell, pundits and fans alike spit out the same three syllables.

Hagler-Hearns.

Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns shared seven minutes and 52 seconds of unfathomable brutality in Las Vegas in April 1985, setting an impossible bar for every all-action fight ever since.

Hagler and Hearns met in their primes as two stars of a golden age in the sport's middle weights. The celebrated "Four Kings" were completed by fellow greats 'Sugar' Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran.

There were nine fights in all between the quartet, spanning 1980 to 1989. Leonard and Duran met three times, with both men going the distance against Hagler. Hearns and Leonard shared 26 rounds over the course of two enthralling bouts separated by almost eight years.

And yet, the comparatively brief period Hearns and Hagler spent in one another's violent orbit stands as the high watermark of the era for many.

After Hagler died aged 66 on Saturday, we look back at three rounds that shook the world.

 

ROUND ONE

An elongated promotional tour taking in 21 cities whipped up severe animosity between the two fighters, with long-reigning unified middleweight king Hagler brooding over the perceived higher public standing afforded to fellow Americans Leonard and Hearns, along with the latter's withdrawal from their proposed 1982 meeting with a hand injury.

Hearns had showcased terrifying power at welterweight and light-middleweight. He demolished Duran inside two rounds in 1984, at the same Caesars Palace outdoor arena that staged his clash with Hagler.

Therefore, the expectations were of a measured start from the older man, who would draw the sting from a 26-year-old Hearns at a then-unfamiliar weight before taking him into deep waters.

Hagler was not reading from that script.

After eyeballing his foe throughout the introductions, he tore out of his corner at the opening bell and unleashed a wild and winging right hand that Hearns just managed to duck. The tone was set and there would be no let-up.

Hagler's gameplan – insofar as it could be deciphered from underneath the red mist – was to negate Hearns' three-inch reach advantage by attacking the younger man to the body.

Initially, that was a march straight into trouble as Hearns caught him with a left hand coming in and followed up with a right hook to shake Hagler.

The champion held for the briefest of respites before leather began to fly in centre ring – Hagler unleashing his chopping left hook and locating Hearns' chin to force a retreat to the neutral corner.

Hurt, Hearns shot back under heavy fire to escape the peril Hagler had planned on the ropes.

There was a minute gone.

The hunter and hunted patter was established. Hearns clipped Hagler with a left off the back foot to draw him on to a short right. Worryingly for the 'Motor City Cobra', 'Marvellous' was entirely unperturbed.

Hagler's booming straight right was working effectively, but Hearns' blurring fists continued to punctuate a fight in fast forward. A pair of rights found the jaw, still Hagler came. A flashing uppercut, still he came. But there was blood. A lot of it.

"There's blood all over Marvin Hagler's face, I can't tell where it's coming from," yelped commentator Al Bernstein

Seemingly spurred on by the change in circumstances, Hagler forced Hearns into the red corner and got to work, pounding the body. Hearns was sharp in the eye of the storm, soaking up two crunching left hooks and fighting his way out of trouble.

Well, until that unerring Hagler straight right sent him tottering backwards with nine seconds left in the round. By the time the bell sounded, they were trading once more.

Hearns landed 56 of 83 punches in the first round as Hagler connected with 50 of 82. It still beggars belief.

ROUND TWO

"Don't worry about the cut, Marvin," said his cornerman Goody Petronelli, unknowing that there were bigger problems afoot on the other stood.

At some point in the fury of the first three minutes, Hearns had broken his wrecking ball right. This perhaps explained his willingness to begin the second on the jab – that tool of relative conservatism largely lost in the maelstrom of round one.

Hagler met this adjustment with a change of his own. The switch-hitter turned to an orthodox stance for the first time in the fight and landed with a left-right combination.

Regardless, there would be no backwards step from Hagler. Back he went to southpaw, a right jab leaving Hearns disorganised and opening up more opportunities to the body.

A straight right was Hearns' retort along with crisp lefts to head and body, but Hagler shrugged them off and continued to bore forwards with blood all over the place.

His left hook was working like a dream and shuddering rights had Hearns in trouble on the ropes.

When the bell sounded, Hagler's bloody mask and Hearns' exhausted body gave both men the look of beaten fighters.

ROUND THREE

"Just box him, stay away and box him," Emanuel Steward implored Hearns, although the great tactician had reason to sense the bout was slipping away.

Aghast, Steward found one of Hearns' entourage giving him a leg massage before the fight. Combined with the concussive head shots Hagler had landed at will, the result was rubbery limbs that did not convince as the Kronk Gym favourite looked to get on the balls of his feet and skip away at the start of round three.

Hagler's eyes never deviated from a moving target, but his problems were also stacking up.

Referee Richard Steele was increasingly zealous when it came to breaking the fighters up, preventing Hagler from doing the work he wanted to on the inside. After one of the official's interventions, he called the ringside doctor to have a look at the champion's increasingly gruesome cut.

Given Hearns opened the cut with a punch, a TKO defeat was on the cards for Hagler if he was deemed unfit to continue.

But no referee or no doctor was stopping this fight. Hagler decided it was time to take care of adjudication himself.

He had started to measure Hearns' increasingly predictable retreats, and a right to the side of the head saw his opponent stagger sidewards across the right, almost turning his back. Hagler knew the time was now.

A follow-up right to the temple robbed Hearns of any remaining equilibrium and another to the jaw saw him sag back before collapsing downwards, the breeze of Hagler's superfluous follow-up shots doing nothing to rouse him.

Flat on his back, Hearns tried valiantly to beat Steele's count, but a valedictory triumph belonged to Hagler after a cacophony of violent mayhem and savagery that remains celebrated to this day.

Undefeated world champions Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez will meet to decide the undisputed light-welterweight king in Las Vegas on May 22.

Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) added the WBA belt to his IBF crown when he beat Regis Prograis via majority decision in the thrilling October 2019 World Boxing Super Series final.

The Scottish southpaw made short work of Apinun Khongsong in his first defence, stopping the challenger with a brutal first-round body shot.

American Ramirez (26-0 17 KOs) was, like Taylor, a 2012 Olympian but boasts more experience in the professional ranks.

He consolidated the WBC title by stopping then-WBO ruler Maurice Hooker inside six rounds in July 2019.

A points win over one-time Taylor victim Viktor Postol last August kept those belts in Ramirez's possession and it means all four of the major titles in the division will be on the line when the fighters meet in under three months' time.

"I'm excited it's finalised and over the line," Taylor said. "I can't wait to get in there for the biggest fight of my career.

"Fighting for the undisputed title is something all boxers dream about."

Ramirez added he is confident he can make history for a boxer of Mexican lineage, with undisputed status similarly a target for Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez at super-middleweight this year.

"I look forward to making history by becoming the first boxer of Mexican descent to hold all four major world title belts," he said.

Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank hailed "a true 50-50 fight" that "the fans and both fighters demanded".

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez will start May's super-middleweight unification showdown "three rounds" to the good, according to WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders.

Canelo will put his WBA and WBC belts on the line against the undefeated Saunders on May 8 after clinically dispatching an over-matched Anvi Yildirim in three rounds in Miami on Saturday.

Saunders was set to face Canelo last May before the coronavirus shutdown intervened and British fighter has already moved to start the pre-fight mind games by suggesting the pound-for-pound Mexican superstar has benefitted from favourable scorecards in the past.

Canelo boxed to a draw and a majority decision win over the course of two thrilling and close bouts with Gennadiy Golovkin.

Back in 2013, when the four-weight champion suffered his only career loss to the great Floyd Mayweather Jr, one judge remarkably scored the fight a draw.

Such instances appear to be at the forefront of Saunders' mind – with good reason given only 14 of his 30 career wins have come by stoppage.

"So long as I make sure everything's on a fair playing field," he told iFL TV.

"To me, money doesn't really matter. Victory matters.

"When someone works all their life to get to where they need to get in life, it's very important that people be fair.

"If I win, give me the decision. If I don't win, I don't win. But as long as it's fair.

"I already know when I go there I'm three rounds down. So I need to make sure everyone's on a fair, even playing field."

Caleb Plant's IBF strap will be the only major prize at 168lbs residing outside of a blockbuster contest.

However, to Saunders, the prospect of defeating a fighter widely recognised as the finest in the sport appeals far more than whatever baubles that might bring.

"This ain't really about nothing but me versus him. Winner v winner, that's what it is," he said.

"We know nobody is unbeatable. Nobody. That's for sure.

"It's going to be a very tough fight and a very hard one. But I wouldn't just be getting in this ring for money or for a chance just to be seen.

"I'm going in there for one reason and one reason only. May 8 can't come quick enough."

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