Canelo is getting off scot-free in boxing’s latest drug scandal

Justin Faux Columnist

By Justin Faux, Justin Faux is a Roar Expert

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    Canelo Alvarez throws a punch at Gennady Golovkin during their WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight championionship bout at T-Mobile Arena on September 16, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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    While in preparation for one of the biggest fights of his career, Mexican boxing champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has been wrapped up in doping drama.

    On Tuesday it was announced that Alvarez, The Ring’s middleweight champion, had tested positive for trace amounts of the performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol.

    His team at Golden Boy Promotions is happy to sweep this test under the rug right away, though.

    “As part of the voluntary testing programme that Canelo Álvarez insisted on ahead of his 5 May fight, one of his results came back positive for trace levels of clenbuterol, consistent with meat contamination that has impacted dozens of athletes in Mexico over the last years,” a statement released to the press read.

    This is hardly the first time a clenbuterol drug test has rattled the sports world.

    Track-and-field athlete Katrin Krabbe swore a doctor suggested she take clenbuterol and didn’t knowingly cheat. Despite that, she still lost her chance to compete at the 1992 Olympics and her athletic career effectively came to an end.

    American swimmer Jessica Hardy blamed contaminated food supplements on her failed test. She was still slapped with a one-year ban and missed the 2008 Beijing Games.

    Aussie footballers Lachie Keeffe and Josh Thomas theorised illicit drug use was the reason behind their failure but it didn’t stop the AFL from handing down a two-year ban.

    Mexican boxer Erik Morales tested positive for the powerful drug and also pointed the finger at contaminated meat. He wasn’t licensed to box again for two whole years.

    Noticing a trend here?

    All of the above athletes failed a test, provided a reasonable explanation and were punished anyway.

    Canelo, on the other hand, hasn’t even been given a slap on the wrist. Not even a minor monetary fine.

    Presently, the 27-year-old pay-per-view star is still scheduled to fight Gennady ‘Triple G’ Golovkin in a middleweight championship unification bout on May 5 in Las Vegas.

    Gennady Golovkin Boxing 2017

    (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    It’s only right to point out that we cannot unequivocally say that Canelo knowingly doped.

    After all, animals, including cows, have been known to be injected with the drug and beef contamination stories have popped up in several countries, including Mexico.

    That being said, Canelo is still 100 per cent at fault here.

    Outlined in the 156 page World Anti-Doping Agency code is an athlete’s responsibility to ensure no prohibited substances enter his or her body, whether he or she intentionally or unintentionally ingests it.

    There are no two ways about it, Canelo is guilty, whether he intended to take the banned substance or not. And despite Golden Boy’s insistence that this is a non-issue, this is anything but. Clenbuterol is on the banned list for a reason.

    The drug is a powerful fat burner, an effective appetite suppressant, and can greatly enhance cardiovascular fitness. Moreover, it is also commonly used among athletes in addition to other anabolic agents to help maintain muscle mass while still trimming fat.

    Canelo is a world-class athlete fighting for tens of millions of dollars in prize money. If we’re to assume his story is true, his actions are reckless at best, and outright idiotic at worst.

    The former multi-belt light middleweight titlist must have been aware of the aforementioned Morales case, and the possibility of contaminated meat in Mexico. Despite that, it seems no steps were made to import meat.

    It doesn’t really matter, though. Because it seems Mexico’s favourite fighting son will escape this drug fiasco relatively unscathed.

    It is still possible that the Nevada State Athletic Commission could hand down a serious punishment before the multi-million dollar bout, but I wouldn’t count on it.

    Justin Faux
    Justin Faux

    Justin Faux is a seasoned combat sports scribe. Covering mixed martial arts and boxing since 2007, Justin has been published on NineMSN Australia, Fox Sports, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and dozens of other outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @justinfauxmma.

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • March 7th 2018 @ 2:04pm
      SnowyArum said | March 7th 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

      “His team at Golden Boy Promotions is happy to sweep this test under the rug right away, though.”

      And unfortunately, that’s all she wrote

    • March 7th 2018 @ 6:12pm
      Ben said | March 7th 2018 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

      I believe it was actually the doctor that tested him, that said the reading was in the range of someone “eating contaminated meat”. Hence, why he got the all clear.

      Given that we don’t know (although we could probably look it up) the levels of Clenbuteral that the other athletes had in their system, I find it a bit unfair to compare the cases.

      It’s also ridiculous to expect an athlete to take the fall for something that could of – provided he’s telling the truth – happened to anyone. It’s not like he was offered some “magic” pills or anything…

      Another thing. Canelo walks around as a middleweight. So why on Earth would he knowlingly be taking a powerful weight stripping drug, 2 months out from a fight that he pretty much doesn’t have to cut weight for.

      A bit of food for thought…

    • March 8th 2018 @ 1:53pm
      Farqueue said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

      Cmon Ben…..are you seriously telling us that canelo walks around at 160…trains hard for a fight and doesn’t lose any weight. He would be the only boxer, excluding heavyweights , that does that. Canelo is the biggest star in boxing, a multi millionaire, yet eats local meat that he has heard may lead to a positive test. He deserves a year ban for being stupid then. I live in Asia and I buy imported meat from Australia. I’m about a million dollars away from being a millionaire too. Look what happened to Lucas Browne when he got caught with the same stuff in his system, at least he can say why would he want to lose any weight….he can fight as heavy as he wants. We have seen the scoring gifts he has been given in many fights already. One judge gave him a draw against Mayweather when he clearly didn’t win a round. GGG beat him last fight, clearly in my mind, yet one judge scored it 118-110 for him. Lara was also hard done by. You seeing a pattern here.

      • March 9th 2018 @ 6:20am
        Ben said | March 9th 2018 @ 6:20am | ! Report

        Farqueue – Yes I’m am telling you Canelo walks around at roughly 160lb, and if he’s anything above that, it’s certainly not enough to warrant the risk of being caught doping. He use to fight at 154lb don’t forget… a limit where he actually had to lose some weight before weighin.

        Do yourself a favor, and look up Lucas Browne’s fights prior to the Chagaev fight. Almost completely different fighters… I wasn’t suprised in the least he tested positive. But the most bazaar thing that came of that is the result hasn’t been changed to an NC…

        While I agree that CJ Ross would almost be considered unhinged in giving the FMJ v Canelo fight a draw, I gave Canelo the edge vs GGG.

        • March 10th 2018 @ 12:40am
          Lobo said | March 10th 2018 @ 12:40am | ! Report

          Canelo’s brother has said in interview his walk around weight when not in training camp is seessaws around 170-180.

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