Golovkin says boxing must hold Alvarez accountable for failed drug test

Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin pose for photos during a news conference on Feb. 27 at L.A. Live to advance their rematch.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Gennady Golovkin lashed out at Canelo Alvarez as “shameful” and “stupid” for his positive drug test for a banned performance-enhancing substance, urging authorities to take the matter seriously.

In a Wednesday conversation with the Los Angeles Times at his Big Bear training facility, three-belt middleweight champion Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 knockouts) said the Nevada Athletic Commission and the sanctioning bodies must hold the sport’s most popular fighter accountable.

Mexico’s former two-division champion Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) fought Golovkin to a draw in September and they are in training for their May 5 rematch at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.


On Monday, however, Golden Boy Promotions announced Alvarez had tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol, which can assist athletes in building stamina and endurance but has also previously been found in Mexican beef and caused several positive test results.

Alvarez, like his countrymen before him — recently elected International Boxing Hall of Fame boxer Erik Morales, and recent super-bantamweight world champion Francisco Vargas — is blaming the accidental ingestion of contaminated Mexican beef for two positive results in February.

Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler said Alvarez and his team should provide full disclosure of when and where the contaminated beef was purchased and consumed.

“We are elite athletes, and I want to keep boxing on this elite level,” Golovkin said. “There are laws and a commission and [anti-doping scrutiny], and we have to fulfill them. They have to take action in that case, either disqualify him or [deliver] penalties. But if it’s neglected, why do we need a commission? And why talk about tests?

“When you get to this level, people should be watching the skills you muster from yourself, not wonder which laboratory you have.”


Golovkin of course wants to participate in the lucrative bout with Alvarez, but says he has options to pursue if the fight is scrapped.

“My first impression is athletes at this level cannot fail or show any positive because it’s bad for sport, bad for everything … failing a test at this level either means he doesn’t want to fight, has problems or has problems with his team,” Golovkin said. “This is showing your true face.

“They know what [clenbuterol] is. It’s not something new. There’s lots of precedents.”

World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman told The Times on Wednesday that he’s hopeful “a resolution will be recognized in a couple days. The time is sensitive. It would be my opinion it could easily take place with certain agreements of [increased] testing and assurances [from Alvarez].”

Sulaiman recently reconciled with Alvarez after the fighter wouldn’t accept a WBC belt in his past two bouts after declining to keep his vow to fight Golovkin in 2016.

“Clenbuterol has been highly problematic in Mexico, especially for national soccer teams in 2011, with 109 players contaminated and positive,” Sulaiman said. “Given that, Canelo has also been tested clean in many, many fights. Taking all of these facts, I believe it is another case of contamination from food.”

Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer, said the push to resolve the matter quickly shouldn’t shorten the intensity of the probe, urging Margaret Goodman, head of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Assn., to declare what the clenbuterol levels mean.


“I want a thorough investigation, and if she deems it too high and there should be no fight, then we’ll go along with that,” Sanchez said. “But if she says it’s in line with meat contamination, we’ll abide by it.

“But you have to be ignorant and live under a rock to not know that hasn’t been a problem in Mexico before. And his coach and managers [Chepo and Eddy Reynoso] are butchers, they own meat markets.”

Golovkin said he has been tested four times in the past two weeks and has been subjected to steady drug testing for 20 years since his amateur days, with that scrutiny increasing since winning a belt eight years ago.

“I’m a fighter. Let’s keep it simple: There’s a drug test. It’s either yes or no. The rest doesn’t matter. That’s why the commission exists. That’s why there are regulations,” Golovkin said.

“If you say it’s OK, it’s legal, that’s bad for the sport … I won’t even say it’s boxing. Do we say it’s now like Cyborgs, Transformers?”


Twitter: @latimespugmire