The huge planned boxing match between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin could be in serious jeopardy.
Alvarez was temporarily suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) on Friday for his drug-test failures for the banned substance clenbuterol, NAC executive director Bob Bennett told MMA Fighting on Friday. The LA Times was the first to report the news.
Alvarez will have to go before the commission for a disciplinary hearing April 10. He is scheduled to face Golovkin on May 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but the temporary suspension puts the fight in doubt.
The NAC did not suspend Alvarez immediately, but the commission had been investigating the case since March 5 when news came out that Alvarez had failed a drug test for clenbuterol. The samples that ended up positive were collected Feb. 17 and Feb. 20, Bennett said.
At the time, Alvarez’s promoter Golden Boy said it was a small trace of the drug in Alvarez’s system, “consistent with meat contamination that has impacted dozens of athletes in Mexico over the last few years.”
The out-of-competition drug testing was administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) and the sample was analyzed at the WADA-accredited SMRTL lab in Salt Lake City.
Meat in Mexico and China being tainted with clenbuterol is a legitimate occurrence and there has been a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) alert about the issue out for years. Multiple UFC fighters, including Mexico natives Brandon Moreno and Augusto Montaño, have been cleared of sanctions by USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, after they were found to have slight traces of clenbuterol in their systems consistent with meat contamination.
However, the NAC has suspended fighters for testing positive for clenbuterol in the past.
Alvarez has denied knowingly doping. Golden Boy said Alvarez would move his camp from Mexico to the United States and take any further tests “that VADA deems necessary” leading up to the scheduled bout with Golovkin.
“I am an athlete who respects the sport and this surprises me and bothers me because it had never happened to me,” Alvarez said in a statement earlier this month. “I will submit to all the tests that require me to clarify this embarrassing situation and I trust that at the end the truth will prevail.”