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Canelo Alvarez suspended six months for positive drug tests for clenbuterol

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Gennady Golovkin v Canelo Alvarez Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Canelo Alvarez lost his scheduled fight next month with Gennady Golovkin, but it could have been worse for the boxing star.

The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) suspended Alvarez six months at a disciplinary hearing Wednesday in Las Vegas after he tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol in two out-of-competition drug tests in February.

Alvarez’s ineligibility is retroactive to the first drug-test failure, which stemmed from a Feb. 17 sample collection. So, Alvarez will be able to compete again in August at the earliest. His scheduled May 5 rematch against Golovkin was already scrapped earlier this month when Alvarez voluntarily withdrew.

The suspension was part of an adjudication agreement set by NAC executive director Bob Bennett, Alvarez and Alvarez’s legal team. The Nevada commissioners agreed to it Wednesday. Alvarez visited Las Vegas recently to meet with Bennett and answer questions. Nevada deputy attorney general Caroline Bateman described Alvarez as “very professional.”

In addition to the sanction, Alvarez will have to pass drug tests prior to his next fight in Nevada. He did not receive any fine, because he did not compete, so there was no fight purse to fine.

With Alvarez out, Golovkin will now face Vanes Martirosyan on May 5 at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., per the Los Angeles Times. Martirosyan is a protege of Glendale Fighting Club head trainer Edmond Tarverdyan.

Alvarez denied knowingly taking clenbuterol. His team said when the positive drug test came back that the low levels found in Alvarez’s system were consistent with meat contamination issues in Mexico. Clenbuterol can be found in meat in both Mexico and China, per the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Daniel Eichner, the director at the WADA-accredited SMRTL lab that analyzed Alvarez’s samples, backed up that claim. Multiple UFC fighters from Mexico and China who have tested positive for clenbuterol were cleared with no fault by USADA due to the issues with meat contamination in those countries.

Alvarez and Golovkin fought to a controversial split draw in September.