Canelo Alvarez Says Contaminated Meat to Blame for Failed Drug Test

Echoing a complaint leveled by previous fighters, Canelo Alvarez blames meat after testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.

Canelo Alvarez poses during a news conference.

Image via Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Canelo Alvarez poses during a news conference.

On Monday it was reported that boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol. Alvarez is currently in training for a May 5 rematch against Gennady Golovkin, whom he fought to a draw in a hugely controversial scoring decision last September.

It is not yet clear if this failed drug test will affect that rematch at all.

According to ESPN, Alvarez's urine samples that were taken on Feb. 17 and Feb. 20 came back positive for "trace amounts of clenbuterol." Alvarez was currently training in his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico, and ESPN adds that the substance "has shown up in drug tests for many Mexican athletes in recent years because of meat contamination in the country." Not shockingly, Alvarez has attributed his positive test to tainted meat.

"As part of the voluntary testing program that Canelo Alvarez insisted on ahead of his May 5 fight, one of his results came back positive for trace levels of clenbuterol, consistent with meat contamination that has impacted dozens of athletes in Mexico over the last years," Alvarez's promotional company, Golden Boy Promotions, said in a statement. "As Daniel Eichner, director of [the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory], the WADA-accredited lab that conducted the tests stated in his letter [on Monday], 'These values are all within the range of what is expected from meat contamination.' Upon receiving this information, Golden Boy immediately notified the Nevada State Athletic Commission and Gennady Golovkin's promoter, Tom Loeffler."

According to Voluntary Anti-Doping Association president Margaret Goodman, "the current plan is to continue to test Mr. Alvarez so that the Nevada State Athletic Commission can make a final determination. Mr. Alvarez has the right to promptly request analysis of the 'B' samples at his expense."

Alvarez also immediately moved his training headquarters to San Diego, which is where he usually gets his work in anyway.

"I am an athlete who respects the sport and this surprises me and bothers me because it had never happened to me," the 27-year-old champ said in a statement. "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."

The positive test is at least the third time that a prominent Mexican fighter has attributed a contaminated sample to bad meat. In 2012, Erik Morales stated meat was to blame a positive test. That fight went on as scheduled, and Morales lost by fourth round KO and retired afterward. Then in 2016, former junior lightweight world titleholder Francisco Vargas tested positive for clenbuterol. Vargas, his opponent Orlando Salido, and the California State Athletic Commission, agreed to do the fight, which ended in a draw.

Bob Bennett, the director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, stated on Monday that Canelo will see increased testing but also added that it "appears to be a situation that runs parallel to Mr. Vargas'"

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