The much anticipated May 5 rematch between Guadalajara boxer Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan is in doubt after the Tapatio tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.
Alvarez has insisted that traces of the substance got into his body after eating contaminated meat in Mexico, probably in the Guadalajara area where he was training for the big fight.
Two samples, sent for analysis on February 17 and 20 to the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), came back positive for trace amounts of clenbuterol.
Farmers in Mexico are often known to give their livestock clenbuterol, even though the practice is prohibited. Clenbuterol is an anabolic steroid that results in leaner meat with a higher muscle-to-fat ratio.
There have been several previous cases of Mexican athletes, mostly soccer players, testing positive after allegedly eating contaminated meat. At the 2011 under-17 soccer world championship held in Mexico, more than 100 players tested positive for clenbuterol.
Sports federations throughout the world now take great care to ensure the diets of athletes competing in Mexico here are carefully monitored.
Golden Boy Promotions, owned by Oscar de la Hoya, who represents Alvarez, issued a press release noting that the case was “consistent with meat contamination that has impacted dozens of athletes in Mexico over the last few years.”
The Nevada Athletic Commission has opened an investigation to determine whether the fight will go ahead on schedule at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Planned for the Cinco de Mayo holiday, the fight is expected to attract a big pay-per-view audience.
In September last year, Golovkin and Alvarez fought to a bruising draw in Las Vegas. The result surprised many aficionados who believed the Kazakhstani had won comfortably.
Alavrez has insisted that he is an athlete who “respects the sport” and points to his lack of history with illegal substances as proof of his innocence.
Golovkin, however, is less convinced. “We’ve seen (injection) marks on his arms and the use of gel. He’s not clean but I don’t care, we are going to beat him anyway,” he said.
Golovkin has previously pointed out Alvarez’s “enlarged muscles,” and accused his rival of taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Following the positive doping result, Alvarez immediately moved his training camp to Los Angeles, California. He continues to prepare for the fight, which he believes he will win, although bookmakers are making Golovkin the favorite.