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Canelo Alvarez submits to hair sample, test comes back negative for clenbuterol

Photo by Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos / Golden Boy Promotions
Fighters Network

Canelo Alvarez put his money where his mouth is.

Nicknamed Canelo, which translates to cinnamon in English, for his red locks, it could be just that which ends up exonerating him. Alvarez submitted a hair follicle sample at the request of the Nevada State Athletic Commission on March 29, and the result came back negative for any traces of clenbuterol.

Alvarez tested positive for the banned substance on February 17 and February 20, and he was subsequently suspended by the commission. The six-month ban scrapped his highly anticipated middleweight championship rematch with Gennady Golovkin, set for May 5.

Canelo, though, claimed all along the positive test results were due to tainted meat consumed in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the hair sample lends credence to Alvarez’s alibi.

“This negative hair test for clenbuterol provides credible evidence that supports Canelo’s claim that his two positive urine tests were a result of eating contaminated meat,” Victor Conte told THE RING. He was the founder of BALCO, a laboratory that produced performance-enhancing drugs, and he currently creates legal supplements as founder of SNAC.

“The Nevada Commission deserves credit for bringing this adjunctive hair test result to their investigation. I’ve said all along that a hair test for clenbuterol would bring valuable information to the case whether the results were positive or negative. In short, Canelo violated the strict liability rule that you are responsible for what is in your body no matter how it got there.”

Clenbuterol, a powerful bronchodilator which aides in the production of lean muscle mass, is often used by cattle farmers in Mexico, though it’s banned in the U.S. Several Mexican fighters – like Erik Morales and Francisco Vargas — have blamed their own positive tests for clenbuterol on tainted meat. The NFL issued an advisory against consuming meat in Mexico for that reason in 2016.

Clenbuterol accumulates in very small amounts in hair follicles. As a result, a hair sample could return a positive result for clenbuterol if it’s used for six months or longer. On the flip side, if clenbuterol resulted from a single incident, such as Canelo’s claim of consuming tainted meat, a “hair test would almost certainly be negative,” according to

“They found traces of clenbuterol in his system and if he was using it (to dope) there would probably still be enough in his system that it would show up in his hair,” Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya told ESPN. “We did the hair test to prove this was accidental. Canelo is telling the truth about the meat contamination and he went far and beyond what he had to do by agreeing to have this hair test done so he can keep on proving that he is an innocent fighter.

“Meat contamination is a problem in Mexico. It happened with the national soccer team and it has happened with several athletes in Mexico. I believe what Canelo wants to do now is keep proving until his career is over, 10 or 15 years from now, that he is a clean fighter and an innocent fighter and that he did not do this purposely whatsoever.”

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger