Canelo Alvarez bound for reckoning before Nevada commission
The Nevada Athletic Commission will meet Wednesday to determine if Canelo Alvarez will have his mandated one-year suspension reduced to six months after testing positive for the banned performance-enhancing substance Clenbuterol in February.
The reduction in the suspension would then open the possibility to reschedule the rematch between Alvarez and three-belt middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin during Mexican Independence weekend in September.
While the promoters for Mexico’s former two-division world champion have emphasized the more than 90 clean drug tests he has submitted in his pro fighting career, the Nevada commission will have to consider the extenuating circumstances around the failed tests.
When Alvarez, 27, was administered a Feb. 17 drug test, it marked the first time he had given a urine sample in Mexico, and it was also the earliest time in any training camp that he had to cooperate with such testing after previously being subject to testing in the final two months before a bout.
At a news conference earlier this month where Alvarez withdrew from his scheduled May 5 rematch at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena against Gennady Golovkin, Golden Boy president Eric Gomez took the blame for not informing Alvarez of the past problems with Clenbuterol.
But that position, along with further lobbying for Alvarez by World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman, has been met by skepticism from those who’ve known of the longtime Clenbuterol trouble in Mexico. The NFL has previously issued a memo to its players warning them not to eat beef in Mexico, and several soccer players in the country also submitted positive tests years ago.
Alvarez is not expected to attend Wednesday’s hearing in person, but he will be available by telephone, according to news reports. Last week, he posted a social-media photo of himself explaining he had undergone arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, taking the time to correct Gomez as “wrong” for earlier explaining to a reporter that the procedure was “cosmetic.”
In the news conference this month, Alvarez apologized for the positive test results and said he respects the Nevada commission.
Alvarez did not apologize to Golovkin, who still doesn’t have a fight scheduled for May 5, although his promoter Tom Loeffler is expected to announce a fight against Glendale’s Vanes Martirosyan at StubHub Center in the next couple of days.
Nevada regulations that dictate Alvarez’s suspension state: “If an unarmed combatant … in this state promptly admits to an anti-doping violation when the only reliable evidence of the anti-doping violation is his admission, the commission may reduce, by not more than 50 percent, the period of ineligibility.”
Attorneys for the commission and Alvarez/Golden Boy have been negotiating a settlement agreement that is expected to be presented as the final item on Wednesday’s agenda. If the settlement agreement is not finalized by Wednesday morning, the matter will be moved to the commission’s May meeting for a full hearing.
In likely reducing the suspension, the commission is expected to consider Alvarez’s first offense and the precedent for such cases. Another fighter, Kenichi Ogawa, who won a vacant junior-lightweight title in a controversial Dec. 9 decision over Tevin Farmer, is expected to be punishedWednesday after testing positive for two testosterone metabolites.
“It’s a mark on [Alvarez] and any agreement will be in accordance with others. He didn’t get any more or less than the others,” said an official familiar with the commission’s disciplinary hearings.
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