Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez continues to train for the highly-anticipated rematch against middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
The rematch is set for Cinco De Mayo, May 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
But last week the rematch nearly derailed after Canelo tested positive for trace levels of the banned substance clenbuterol.
Both boxers agreed to be randomly tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
Alvarez, who was previously training in his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico, provided urine samples on Feb. 17 and Feb. 20, and both tests came back positive for clen.
Canelo blamed the positive test on Mexican cattle.
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.
Despite the warnings, Alvarez still took the risk, and got caught, which has led to widespread criticism, including from the WBC doctor, Antonio Hernandez.
“Canelo has everything at hand… doctors, nutritionists, a physical trainer, so this is an oversight. The amount [of clenbuteral] they found is very little, it was an accident, a mistake by his team.. because he probably ingested contaminated meat,” explained Hernandez.
“I have to clarify something; clenbuterol is a hormone that helps eliminate fat and increase muscle. However, the amount that was found in Canelo was minimal, which means that it’s a feeding problem and his team is responsible. We have to remember that this is not the first time [that this has happened to an athlete in Mexico.]
“Take into account that in Mexico almost all of [the] meat is contaminated, so athletes must consume select meat. If anyone is tested, he will come up with detectable levels of clenbuterol [after eating a contaminated meal], and this time it was Canelo’s turn, and that is why there is so much noise.”
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.