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Canelo given 6-month suspension by Nevada State Athletic Commission

Canelo Alvarez Gennady Golovkin

By Sean Jones: Earlier on Wednesday, Golden Boy Promotions superstar Saul Canelo Alvarez was given a 1-year suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in their Las Vegas hearing on his two doping tests for clenbuterol.

Canelo wasn’t present at the hearing. He spoke to the Commission members on the phone, as he recently had knee surgery last weekend.

The Commission voted 5-0 in favor of the 1-year suspension with 6 months reduced because Canelo had worked with them and been cooperative. It’s unclear what precisely Canelo did to cooperate with the Nevada Commission. There are no reports that Canelo admitted that he used clenbuterol to gain an edge against Golovkin.

Canelo has maintained from the beginning that he ate contaminated beef, and that was the reason for his positive tests. It would be interesting to know what Canelo did to cooperate with the Commission. Canelo previously said he takes responsibility for his positive tests, but he was still blaming his positive tests on having eaten contaminated meat. Agreeing to further tests by VADA might be seen as Canelo cooperating as well with the Commission.

It’s not surprising that Canelo was given a short 6-month suspension, because he’s a popular fighter and brings so much money into the city of Las Vegas.

Canelo can no fight as early as August 17, although he likely won’t return to the ring until September to fight middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin on the Mexican Independence Day holiday weekend. Golovkin has to get past his May 5 replacement opponent Vanes Martirosyan first in their fight on regular HBO at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

“As we have maintained all along, the trace amounts of clenbuterol found in Canelo’s system in February came from meat contamination, and we provided the Nevada State Athletic Commission with a great deal of evidence to support those facts,” Golden Boy Promotions said in a statement on Wednesday about their star Canelo Alvarez.

It was expected that Canelo would be given a reduced 6 month suspension by the Commission due to this being his first offense for PEDs. Some boxing fans figured that Canelo would be given a light sentence because of his huge popularity in Las Vegas. Canelo brings in a lot of money to Vegas each time he fights.

For the Nevada Commission to have given Canelo a long suspension, they would have been shooting themselves in the foot in the process. It seems inconceivable from the start. It would be like England giving the highly popular British heavyweight Anthony Joshua a long suspension. It would be very unlikely to happen due to his popularity. You can argue boxing is a little different from other sports like the NFL and NBA.

The Nevada Commission showed leniency on the 27-year-old Canelo by reducing his 12-month suspension to 6 months with the suspension being retroactive from the date of his first positive test for clenbuterol on February 17. This means Canelo is being given slap on the hands by the Commission, because he wasn’t planning on fighting in February, March or April. Allowing those months to be part of Canelo’s suspension, means he’s being given a very, very short suspension. Some boxing fans point out that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was given a 9-month suspension for testing positive for marijuana in 2012, and that recreational drug isn’t a performance enhancing drug.

Golden Boy added this about Canelo’s positive tests for clenbuterol:

”Although most professional sports, international anti-doping agencies and United States boxing commissions treat meat contamination differently from other positive tests, Nevada does not. Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions respect the rules of Nevada and are therefore satisfied with the settlement agreement reached today.”

There’s no word whether Canelo will be tested from this point to the time of his September fight with Golovkin. Some boxing fans would like to know if Canelo will only be tested during the eight weeks before his next fight. There’s a lot of time obviously between now and the next eight week training camp for Canelo. Hopefully, he doesn’t eat anymore tainted meat in the next three months before he starts training camp for the GGG rematch in September.

The six-month suspension might not send a message to fighters to stay clean. Ideally, you’d like to see stronger suspensions to scare off potentially dirty fighters that use PEDs for their advantage or at least make them aware what could happen if they eat untested meat.

Clenbuterol is a substance that is said to help athlete’s burn fat, lean out muscles and increase stamina. It’s a substance that more and more fighters are starting to test positive for. The meat excuse that Canelo gave for his 2 positive tests for clenbuterol has been used in the past by other fighters.

The six month suspension for Canelo might help him against Golovkin, who now has to wait an entire year for him to get a rematch with the redheaded Mexican star from the date of their last fight in September of last year. That was a fight that was ruled a 12 round draw. It was seen as a clear win by Golovkin, and the results made Canelo look like he was given favorable treatment by the judges in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans.

“Canelo looks forward to returning to the ring in September for Mexican Independence Day weekend to represent Mexico and boxing in what will be the sport’s biggest event of the year. He is ready to continue his remarkable record of fighting at the highest level,” Golden Boy promotions said in their statement.

We’ll have to see whether the rematch between Canelo and Golovkin will generate the same kind of interest as the first fight. In the past when there have been fights that have had controversial decisions, the rematches don’t do as well. It’s possible that if the boxing public doesn’t believe that the judges will score the fight fairly, they won’t be as eager to pay to see a second fight. The way Canelo fought Golovkin by running most of the contest and staying on the ropes made it a boring fight to watch. Golovkin didn’t press the attack like he normally does with his opponents. He jabbed most of the fight, and wasted time boxing.

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