BILLY JOE SAUNDERS admits he was wandered into his USA debut like a "zombie" after taking less than a week to acclimatise.
Britain’s two-weight world champion defends his WBO super-middleweight strap against Argentine Marcelo Esteban Coceres at the Los Angeles Staples Center on Saturday night.
The controversial slot on the undercard of the YouTube clash between KSI and Logan fight is a shrewd bid for the 30-year-old southpaw to land more followers.
But having to battle jet lag and an eight-hour time difference before facing an undefeated South American with 15 KOs in his 28 wins is far from ideal preparation.
After landing on Sunday, Saunders said: “It’s not ideal to arrive as late as I have but you've got to play the hand you're dealt. I'm walking around like a zombie.
“I'm nodding off to sleep sometimes but hopefully it will be different on fight night.
“But there are no excuses from me, I'm here, I'm ready and I'm fit. All I can do is hopefully put on a masterclass.”
The Hatfield Traveller is making his first defence of the strap on his US debut and his first fight with new promoter Eddie Hearn.
The proud Gypsy must have been sleepy from his flight to have been tucked up by a couple of L.A hoodlums who conned him out of around £200 Down Town.
The usually razor-sharp star revealed: “I got hustled out of $200 by a group of kids. They came up to me selling candy and I felt sorry for them.
“I gave my mate some big bills to get changed up to give to the kids but, before he could get into the shop, one of the kids offers to do it and pulls out a wad of about $2000.
“I just thought ‘f*** it’ you’ve had me right over here so I just let them keep the money.”
The reformed bad boy has shunned the bright lights of Hollywood and the Venice Beach party scene to play board games in his hotel to kill the time.
The Arsenal fan insists he is world-champ material for more than boxing and always sticks to his Arsenal-supporting colours.
He said: “It’s been boring here, the usual stuff, chilling out in my room with the lads and smashing everyone at Connect 4.
“If Connect 4 was a professional sport I'd be world champion. I'm always a red man and my first coin slot always goes straight down the middle.”
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