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Kellerman says Canelo’s levels for clenbuterol could determine his fate at hearing

Canelo Alvarez Gennady Golovkin Canelo vs. Golovkin 2 clenbuterol Nevada State Athletic Commission


By Allan Fox: Max Kellerman of HBO believes that Saul Canelo Alvarez’s levels of clenbuterol in his two positive tests could either sink him or clear him for his next hearing on April 10th with the Nevada State Athletic Commission in Las Vegas.

The Commission will be having a full hearing on the 10th of April to decide whether to clear the 27-year-old Canelo or give him a further ban that could doom his May 5th rematch with middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.


The question the Nevada Commission will be deciding on April 10 is whether Canelo’s two positive tests on February 17 and February 20 are consistent with a person that had eaten contaminated meat. The levels of the clenbuterol in a person’s system that had consumed tainted meat would likely be considerably lower than a person who had intentionally been using the drug for its performance enhancing ability.

“For those who think Canelo Alvarez is innocent of this, that he didn’t knowingly cheat, they would point to the fact that there is contaminated meat in Mexico, which can elevate levels of clenbuterol in the system, and Canelo probably that’s what happened,” Kellerman said. “After all, he had to be built up to be a middleweight. Clenbuterol is not a masking agent, it doesn’t make you stronger. It helps you cut weight. Why would Canelo really need to cut weight in that way?”

Kellerman fails to point out that the performance enhancing drug clenbuterol isn’t just for drug cheats to use for weight cutting ability. It’s also said to be used for the purposes of the improvements it makes in oxygen distribution for the fighter using the drug. clenbuterol is believed to help the stamina of a fighter using this drug so that they can fight harder without tiring. If a fighter had stamina problems that hurt their performances, then a drug like clenbuterol might help them. The substance isn’t just for a drug cheat to use for cutting weight. The improvement in stamina would be a benefit for a fighter that gasses out during his fights.

”On the other side, they say that gives a fighter who lives or spends time in Mexico a plausible deniability to use, even if it is cutting weight,” Kellerman said. In a sense, it’s a performance enhancer. I think we get our answer for what turns out in the hearing. If the clenbuterol levels were really elevated and there is no plausible deniability and it looks like Canelo cheated, but if it’s marginal the way it was for Francisco Vargas before he fought (Orlando) Salido, that fight was allowed to proceed on our air, and it’s not perceived that Vargas is a cheater. It really depends on what comes out at the hearing,” Kellerman said.

The levels of clenbuterol in Canelo’s system for his two positive tests last February might not give a clear indication of whether he purposefully used the substance or not. If the Nevada Commission is going to determine guilt or innocence of Canelo based on the levels of clenbuterol, then it still might not prove that he didn’t use the drug intentionally.

If Canelo’s low levels of the clenbuterol are because he stopped using the drug a days or more than a week before the February 17 and February 20th tests by VADA, then it’s possible that the levels would be lower. If a person stops using clenbuterol well before the testing date, then the levels will slowly drop to the point where they’re as low as what one would see from someone that had eaten contaminated meat. That’s why it’s hard to determine whether a person has unknowingly been using clenbuterol based on the levels of the drug in their system. They can say that the low levels are what you would see from someone that has eaten contaminated meat, but how do they know that the person didn’t stop using the drug well before the tests were taken?

VADA doesn’t test hair follicles for clenbuterol. There’s no way of knowing whether a person has been using the drug for a cycle to gain an advantage of their opponents if the Commission is clearing them by their low levels of the drug. After a certain point, the levels of a drug will drop to next to nothing if the person stops using it. Obviously, a high level of a drug would be a sign that someone had potentially using clenbuterol as a performance enhancing drug. However, if even the high levels of the positive tests can be blamed on an athlete having eaten contaminated meat, then it becomes almost pointless to even test for that drug. You can argue that the Commission should disallow excuses to be given by athletes to escape being suspended.

“We’ll find out at that hearing,” Kellerman said to Fighthype about Canelo’s hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on April 10. “If his levels were elevated a little bit with trace amounts of clenbuterol, then I would find it credible that it’s contaminated meat. If on the other hand it’s a massive amount that wouldn’t just come from contaminated meat, then it looks different, doesn’t it? So, we’ll find out,” Kellerman said.

What’s unclear is whether the Nevada Commission has a set threshold number for clenbuterol levels that they use to determine a person’s guilt or not? If they Commission is just now going to determine a specific number, then you have to wonder whether Canelo will be cleared or not. Ideally, the Commission should already have a set number they go on to clear fighters. If they’re not going to automatically ban an athlete for a positive test, then they should have a range that they go by for what they consider what you would see from someone cheating or not.

“He failed a test. How can he fight?” trainer Dave Coldwell said to Fighthype about Canelo. “If one of these kids on this show had tested positive, would there even be any question about them fighting in six weeks’ time? This fight shouldn’t happen. They should slap a ban on him and fine him, because if you don’t, it’s bollox and it opens up a can of worms. With these tests, ‘I had some meats, I had some cauliflower, I had some contaminated whatever you say, it’s bollox. Canelo is one of the highest paid boxers in the sport. His promoters are one of the biggest promotional companies in the world. You tell me they can’t import meat from somewhere else? You tell me that his trainers that work with Canelo, they know there’s dodgy Mexican meat, aren’t going to say, ‘Listen, Son, you’re not going to eat that,’” Coldwell said.

It’s not a good sign that the Commission suspended Canelo for 2 ½ weeks. For them to have done that, it could hurt the ticket and PPV sales for the May 5th fight between Canelo and Golovkin.

Amir Khan lost to Canelo in 2016 in getting stopped in the 6th round. Khan says he doesn’t know whether Canelo was using for his fight with GGG. Last September, Canelo and Golovkin fought to a 12 round split draw at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The results of the fight were so controversial that the boxing public put pressure on the two fighters to face each other again. Now unfortunately their May 5th rematch is in jeopardy to Canelo’s positive test for clenbuterol. The Nevada Commission’s hearing on April 10 will determine whether the fight will go ahead or not.

“I don’t know if Canelo was on something for that fight,” Amir Khan said to ES News Reporting about Canelo’s fight with Golovkin.

Golovkin thinks he would have been treated differently by the Commission if he had tested positive for a drug instead of Canelo.

“I don’t think I would have had the same amount of benefits he has had,” Golovkin said.

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