clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NAC investigating Canelo Alvarez failed drug test to determine whether Gennady Golovkin rematch will go on

New, comments
Gennady Golovkin v Canelo Alvarez Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The highly anticipated boxing rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin might be in jeopardy.

Alvarez tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol in an out-of-competition drug test, his promoter Golden Boy announced Monday. The Golden Boy press release said that the low trace of clenbuterol in Alvarez’s system is “consistent with meat contamination that has impacted dozens of athletes in Mexico over the last few years” and implied the fight with Golovkin, scheduled for May 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is expected go on.

However, that has yet to be determined, according to Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) executive director Bob Bennett. Bennett said the NAC will launch an investigation into the failed drug test to determine whether or not the fight will still happen on the targeted date.

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.

“We have received the adverse analytical finding from VADA regarding Mr. Alvarez,” Bennett told MMA Fighting. “As per our standard operational procedures, we are going forward with our investigation.”

Saying whether or not Canelo vs. GGG will still happen May 5 is premature, Bennett said.

“At this point in time, I really cant make a determination,” Bennett said. “The investigation hasn’t concluded — it’s obviously in its infancy stages.”

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,” he said in a statement added to the press release. “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.”

VADA president Dr. Margaret Goodman declined comment, referring questions to the commission and the promoters. Bennett said he spoke Monday with Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler, but it’s unclear how Team GGG will move forward.

“We just found out and we’re going to see how the commission and the sanctioning bodies address it,” Loeffler told Yahoo Sports. “Any time there is a positive test, it’s a concern, but we’ll rely on them to do their jobs and go from there. There is not much else to comment on.”

Meat in Mexico being tainted with clenbuterol is a legitimate occurrence. WADA has had an alert out about the situation 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.

Regarding Alvarez, SMRTL lab director Daniel Eichner said that the clenbuterol levels “are all within the range of what is expected from meat contamination,” per the Golden Boy release.

“We’re not taking anything for granted,” said Bob Bennett, a former veteran FBI agent. “In an investigation — and I’ve been in that business for 30 years — you have to be very objective. There’s no doubt that there’s been cases where clenbuterol has been found in contaminated meat in Mexico.”

Bennett said he expects the probe to conclude in a “timely fashion.”

“I think our investigation will be objective, comprehensive and we’ll come to a conclusion based on science and our investigative techniques,” Bennett said.

Alvarez and Golovkin fought to a split draw last September, a controversial decision.