Was a rush to judgement made
By now everyone knows of the catastrophe surrounding the two failed drug test by Canelo Alvarez. It threw a lot of media and boxing fans in an uproar and rightfully so. Today however it was revealed the Nevada State Athletic Commission requested for Alvarez to take a hair follicle test and the test came back negative for Clenbuterol. This could potentially mean he was a victim of contaminated meat in Mexico.
The Nevada commission collected hair samples from Alvarez on March 29. They were then tested at the Sports Medicine Research & Testing Laboratory, a WADA-accredited lab in Salt Lake City, Utah. The results were returned on April 20th according to NSAC executive director Bob Bennett.
“From the beginning, Canelo has insisted that he accidentally ingested clenbuterol from eating tainted meat,” Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy Promotions, Alvarez’s promoter, told ESPN. “The fact this NSAC-required hair follicle test came back entirely negative for any traces of clenbuterol should lay to rest any suspicion that he was intentionally taking a banned substance. Canelo is looking forward to getting back into training and returning to the ring in September. He thanks all of his fans for sticking by him and believes this test proves once and for all that he is a clean fighter.”
Contaminated meat in Mexico is a proven issue for athletes in Mexico, where farmers often include the substance in cattle feed because it helps reduce fat and increase lean muscle mass.
Alvarez was scheduled to fight unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin on May 5th but withdrew from the fight due to the circumstances surrounding the two positive drug test.
The NSAC rule against banned substances doesn’t allow for any negative test regardless of how it got there. As a result of this rule Alvarez was given a suspension of six months.
Was a rush to judgement made by the media and fans? Possibly, but one must look at the history of hair testing for Clenbuterol and realize there’s no definitive evidence of these tests being reliable due to factors of things such as hair color among other things.
It’s a safe bet that not very many of us in the boxing media nor our readers are chemistry experts so this is a decision that is best left up to the experts. At the very least Alvarez was guilty of a lapse in judgment to ever put himself in this position.
By: Chris Henderson