Gennady Golovkin has a right to be upset.
The unified middleweight champion, who is expected to take on Canelo Alvarez in a highly-anticipated rematch on May 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, believes his opponent is a repeat drug offender.
Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KO's), 27, the lineal 160-pound champion, tested positive for trace amounts of the banned substance clenbuterol and blamed the result on Mexican cows.
"Again with Mexican meat? Come on," Golovkin told a group of reporters. "I told you, it's not Mexican meat. This is Canelo. This is his team. This is his promotion. Canelo is cheating. They're using these drugs, and everybody is just trying to pretend it's not happening."
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.
The amount of clenbuterol found in Canelo's system is consistent with meat contamination, but it is almost impossible to imagine that Canelo and his team were unaware of the risks surrounding tainted meat -- if that's actually the cause.
Golovkin believes Canelo and his team knew what they were doing.
"This guy, he knows. This is not his first day in boxing. He proves he gets benefits from everyone and he can get away with it. Check him on a lie detector, and then we can find out everything."
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.
Drug testing and polygraphs have something in common; they are not foolproof. Lance Armstrong passed more than 300 drug tests in his career and is one of the most prolific drug cheats in the history of sports. Meanwhile, convicted spies Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames repeatedly passed polygraph examinations during their careers as double agents. They sold classified information to the Soviet Union and Russia for millions of dollars, and even got multiple agents killed as a result of their actions.
Canelo passing future tests does not necessarily prove that he did not intend to cheat in the past. Unlike Armstrong, Hanssen, and Ames, we have the evidence. Clenbuterol was found in his system.
I understand it was just "traces," but that could also mean he ingested Clenbuterol at an earlier time, and it was nearly out of his system when he was tested by VADA.
Leading up to the first fight with Golovkin, many people were skeptical about Alvarez's increasingly buff physique. In particular, Canelo looked even more buff than he did for his May 2017 fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., which was set at a 164-pound catch-weight. He gained more muscle and shredded fat, a key component of Clenbuterol, and the reason why so many bodybuilders and Hollywood action stars use the substance.
But there is an even bigger concern. Chepo Reynoso, Alvarez's trainer, is a former butcher in Mexico. If common sense prevails, he would know which meats to avoid.
What if it's not meat at all? What if it's an inhaler?
In order to prove that meat was the cause, Canelo should provide receipts.
In recent weeks, I have reached out to a number of fighters, medical professionals, and promoters that are not connected to the rematch in any shape or form. They all believe Canelo knowingly ingested Clenbuterol.
I also spoke to an individual, a fan, who claims that Canelo is their "favorite fighter ever," at the gym I train at in Colorado Springs. They also believe Canelo knowingly took a banned substance.
When your own fans start to doubt you, that is a cause for concern.
Take the promoter side of it with a grain of salt, because this is a very competitive sport, and often things are said back and forth that are made in spite of one another.
As far as Canelo-GGG II is concerned, I want to see this fight, as many fans do. However, Alvarez has not even attempted to clear this matter up, which is raising all of our suspicions.
I am not advocating for the fight to be canceled, but I am calling for the Nevada State Athletic Commission to put a halt on the rematch until Canelo can prove to us all that he is not a drug cheat.
If he fails to do so, pull the plug.