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Why has Canelo failed a drug test and what is he blaming it on?

Canelo Álvarez fails PED test: blames it on contaminated meat

Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez was eager to defeat middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in the sequel of their September electrifying bout.

Now, he may have bumped into a not-so-little issue. He’s tested positive for clenbuterol in a voluntary drug test ahead of his rematch against GGG on May 5 in Las Vegas. Canelo’s promoters have blamed the result on contaminated meat.

Alvarez, who was preparing for the fight in Guadalajara, Mexico, was tested on Feb 17 and 20. One of those tests gave a positive result for traces of clenbuterol, Eric Gomez -Golden Boy Promotions president- said to ESPN.

"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," Golden Boy Promotions declared in a statement on Monday.

"I am an athlete who respects the sport and this surprises me and bothers me because it had never happened to me," Álvarez said. "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." Canelo has been submitted to random drug testing by VADA or the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for all of his fights since his 2012 decision win over Shane Mosley.

"He's been tested many times and never had findings, nothing. And every fight they test him 10, 15 times, at least a dozen times," Eric Gomez said. "This is something Canelo insists on it. We're very confident that everything is going to be fine."

Daniel Eichner, director of SMRTL, the WADA-accredited lab that did the tests on Álvarez, said in a statement the levels of clenbuterol "are all within the range of what is expected from meat contamination." Clenbuterol has appeared in drug tests for many Mexican athletes in recent years due to meat contamination in the country.

In 2012, Mexican superstar Erik “El Terrible” Morales said contaminated meat was responsible for his positive tests before his sequel against, at that time, junior welterweight world champion Danny García in NYC.

In 2016, junior lightweight reigning champion Francisco Vargas tested positive for clenbuterol during his training camp for a fight versus Orlando Salido. The California State Athletic Commission, after consulting both fighters' camps, permitted the fight to go on because they gave Vargas the benefit of the doubt due to tainted meat suspicion.

Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, commented: "We would like the fight to continue if there is any way for that to happen”. Then, he added “We're not really going to comment until we get more detail from VADA and the commission. We'll reserve comment".

"Triple G always has wanted to undergo testing because he hits so hard and is so well-conditioned, he didn't want there to be any questions on his side."

Bob Bennett, executive director of NAC (Nevada Athletic Commission) stated it's "premature" to rule on Alvarez's test results. "We have received the adverse analytical finding from Mr. Alvarez and per our standards will be conducting a full investigation".

It remains to be seen if the positive test will somehow affect the much-expected Canelo vs GGG rematch.