Canelo Alvarez has been removed from the World Boxing Council ratings after failing to respond to repeated appeals for him to re-enroll in a year-round drug-testing program, according to two officials connected to the situation.
Mexico's former two-division world champion, Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 knockouts) was the previous top-ranked mandatory opponent for unbeaten, three-belt middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin before they fought to a draw in September.
But Alvarez, who agreed to a three-month testing window before his scheduled May 5 rematch with Golovkin, submitted two positive tests for the banned substance clenbuterol in February.
The fight was scrapped and Alvarez was suspended until Aug. 17 by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Golovkin knocked out replacement foe Vanes Martirosyan in the second round May 5 at StubHub Center.
Although WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman told The Times earlier this month that he expected a secretary for Alvarez's Los Angeles-based promoter, Golden Boy, to facilitate Alvarez's re-enrollment in the Clean Boxing Program that mandates year-round testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Assn., no action to re-enroll has been taken.
Alvarez was absent from the latest ratings, released this past weekend.
"The WBC rules are clear and apply to every fighter," Sulaiman said in a statement texted to The Times on Tuesday from London. "All champions and top-15 fighters must enroll in the Clean Boxing Program. Failure to do so results in being taken out of the rankings."
Golden Boy President Eric Gomez did not immediately return a message left for him regarding the Alvarez situation.
It's unclear if the WBC's move will cause another disruption in the relationship between the Mexico-based sanctioning body and Alvarez. The boxer previously refused to fight for the WBC belt after the sanctioning body stripped him of his middleweight belt for refusing to fight Golovkin.
That rift was healed earlier this year in a private meeting at L.A. Live between Sulaiman and Alvarez, but that was before it was revealed VADA went to Mexico and tested Alvarez for the first time in his home country, securing the positive results on Feb. 17 and Feb. 20.
Alvarez has claimed the positives were a result of eating contaminated beef in Mexico, an excuse Sulaiman has supported but others have remained skeptical about since two other prominent Golden Boy fighters, Erik Morales and Francisco Vargas, heightened the attention on eating Mexican meat by previously testing positive for clenbuterol, which acts to build endurance and stamina in humans.
While Alvarez's promoters are in ongoing talks to strike a deal with Golovkin for a Sept. 15 rematch, the delay in agreeing to year-round testing is not being met well from the Golovkin side.
"You'd think he'd want to clear his name … ," Golovkin trainer Abel Sanchez said during fight week earlier this month.
Contacted Tuesday, Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler told The Times, "Gennady is proud he's in the Clean Boxing Program and he's always passed all of the numerous tests he's taken over his amateur and professional career.
"[Golovkin] and Abel Sanchez believe strongly in testing to ensure a level playing field in boxing and would expect any potential opponent to be enrolled in VADA testing as well."
Last week, Golden Boy-owned The Ring magazine published a story explaining why it would keep Alvarez as its lineal middleweight champion despite the publication's six-year-old policy that stipulates any fighter who tests positive for a performance-enhancing drug would be removed from its rankings.
"This hasn't happened in the case of Alvarez, and it isn't going to happen," The Ring's Doug Fischer wrote.