The highly anticipated world middleweight title rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, set for May 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, could be in jeopardy after Canelo tested positive for trace amounts of Clenbuterol.
According to Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports, Alvarez twice failed tests, on Feb. 17 and Feb. 20, both for trace amounts of the drugs. Both the Feb. 17 sample and the Feb. 20 sample were received at the lab on Feb. 21.
But the excuses are getting old and getting old fast.
Clenbuterol was initially developed as a bronchodilator for the treatment of symptoms of asthma, but it also increases heart rate, blood pressure, and adrenaline. Furthermore, clen burns fat by increasing metabolism, allows for more natural breathing, and increases muscle by enhancing muscle protein synthesis.
The substance would certainly benefit Canelo, who tends to tire out late in fights, but is that enough evidence to suggest he intentionally ate tainted meat?
Maybe not to everyone, but ultimately it's the athlete that is responsible for what he or she eats, and this is not breaking news.
Tainted meat has been an issue in Mexico for years. Ranchers have been known to use Clenbuterol in their feed, even though it is also banned. In 2016, Mexican authorities inspected 200 slaughterhouses and found Clenbuterol in livestock at 58 of them (29 percent). The World Anti-Doping Agency also issued a warning for athletes in 2011 to "exercise extreme caution" when consuming meat in China or Mexico.
Canelo is a multi-million dollar athlete who can afford to have meat shipped to him, so the excuses are not viable, albeit the concentration of Clenbuterol in Alvarez's system was low enough to suggest that the failed test was due to a contaminated meat source. On the other hand, former welterweight titlist Shawn Porter has no problems having tilapia shipped to him while training for a fight.
There is also the argument of "Canelo signed up for drug testing, so why would he cheat?"
NASCAR teams are subject to pre-qualifying inspection, post-qualifying inspection, pre-race inspection, and post-race inspection. Despite all of these regulations, seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson's car failed pre-race inspection not once, not twice, but three times Sunday, leading to the ejection of the car chief.
Rules do not prevent someone from breaking them. It can be a good mitigator, but not everyone wants to have a level playing field.
Francisco Vargas tested positive for Clenbuterol before a 2016 world title defense with Orlando Salido, but the California State Athletic Commission licensed him anyway, and he passed later tests. Again, Canelo failed multiple tests, so there is a major problem. On the other hand, drug testing is not fool proof, either.
Should Canelo face punishment? Yes. Will he face punishment? Unlikely.
There is not enough interest in a clean sport where corruption prevails. If we cared enough, Adelaide Byrd would be banished from the sport, and playing Mahjong with C.J. Ross.