Canelo Alvarez temporarily suspended, rematch with Gennady Golovkin in jeopardy
There’s a storm cloud hanging over the rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.
The middleweight championship encore is set for May 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but Canelo was temporarily suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Friday following his two positive tests for the banned substance clenbuterol.
Alvarez attributed the failed tests to contaminated meat consumed in Mexico, and he’ll be required to present his case before the commission on April 10 in Las Vegas, when his status — as well as whether the fight will proceed — will be determined at a hearing.
The news was delivered to both Golden Boy Promotions President Eric Gomez and Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, during a Friday meeting in Las Vegas with Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett.
“We respect the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s process and will vigorously present Canelo’s case throughout,” Alvarez’s promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, said in a statement Friday. “Over his career, Canelo has tested clean more than 90 times and would never intentionally take a banned substance.”
Alvarez and GGG battled to a disputed majority draw in September, and the HBO Pay-Per-View rematch looms as an even bigger event. The two best 160-pounders in the world traded power shots in a spirited fight, and there was a press event in Los Angeles last month to officially commence the promotion.
But it was later revealed that clenbuterol — a performance-enhancing substance commonly used by athletes as a fat burning tool — was found in Alvarez’s system on February 17 and on February 20 as part of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association’s random-testing protocol.
Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 knockouts) later tested negative for the substance on March 3 and March 5, and other Mexican boxers, such as Erik Morales, Luis Nery and Francisco Vargas, have attributed their own positive clenbuterol and zilpaterol (a similar drug) tests to contaminated meat.
“That meeting is for Mr. Alvarez to be able to articulate his position to the chairman and the commissioners who actually determine what the penalty or suspension is, or if there’s no punishment,” Bennett told THE RING. “They decide the findings, not me. I did some investigating and looked into a number of different factors that needed to be considered, now it’s up to Mr. (Anthony) Marnell and the others to make the decision.
“It’s an open meeting, there’s no back channels or they would be in violation with the law and they would be prosecuted, so everything is above board. So everything (the commission) wants to ask, they need to ask in public. They’ll see what the general consensus is. It’s predicated on what Mr. Alvarez says and what the facts of the case dictate.”
“He tested positive for it, whether it’s intentional or unintentional, he’s gotta be able to explain to us how that happened.”
Bennett said Alvarez has complied with all the tests administered by the commission. The commission is made up of five part-time members that will decide Alvarez’s fate and whether or not the super fight takes place on May 5 as scheduled: Staci Alonso, Christopher Ault, Dr. Robert McBeath and Sandra Douglass Morgan.
Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs), THE RING’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, met with the media Tuesday from his training camp in Big Bear Lake, California, and accused Alvarez of using PEDs ahead of their first meeting.
The 35-year-old Kazakh also repeatedly stated that he’s not buying Alvarez’s alibi, saying “it’s not Mexican meat. This is Canelo. This is his team. This is his promotion. Canelo is cheating. They’re using these drugs, and everybody is just trying to pretend it’s not happening.”
Golovkin also accused the commission of being in Alvarez’s pocket and expressed his belief that the 27-year-old star would face no repercussions.
Despite the uncertainty that now swirls around the proceedings, Alvarez continues to train at his camp in San Diego, and so, too, is GGG.
“He plans to fight May 5, hopefully it’s against Canelo depending on what happens April 10,” Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, told THE RING. “I think they still have to go through their different procedures. We’re leaving it in the hands of the commission. We only asked for a thorough and transparent investigation and from everything I’ve seen that’s what’s happened so far. We’ll just wait fof the outcome of the hearing.
“Nothing is going to change on his side. Golovkin is still training.”
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger