The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has imposed a 6-month suspension on Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. The suspension comes in the wake of two failed drug tests, in which Canelo tested positive for trace amounts of the substance clenbuterol. Alvarez has maintained that he failed the tests due to eating contaminated beef while in Mexico (a widespread problem there), however, any amount in the body is not allowed.
Many felt that Canelo would be suspended one year, but NSAC decided to not be that harsh, giving out a 6-month suspension, and no fine. This is seen as a best case scenario for the majority of boxing fans who wish to see the rematch with Gennady Golovkin as quickly as possible.
In the aftermath of the suspension, GGG’s team has decided to save the date of May 5th, and fight Vanes Martirosyan. The fight is not good by any means, but unfortunately there was not much else they could have done. It is tough finding a last minute opponent who is also somewhat marketable. Martirosyan has a somewhat recognizable name, and considering how last minute it was, it could have been a worse matchup.
I would have preferred if they just canceled the date all together, and fought next in the summer against a legit opponent, but I understand why they did not. They want to ensure a fall rematch with Canelo, which is one of the biggest fights to make in boxing.
Canelo’s suspension will last until August 17, which is perfect timing in order to have the highly anticipated fight with GGG in September. Golden Boy has already announced that Canelo will be fighting on HBO PPV September 15th, which happens to be Mexican Independence Day weekend, a huge weekend in boxing. While the opponent has not been announced, it would appear as though it will be the rematch with GGG, assuming GGG comes out victorious against Martirosyan.
Canelo’s suspension will likely have a noticeable impact on the inevitable rematch between the two, and will lead to many questions leading up to the fight. Assuming it takes place September 15th, that will mean a whole year has passed since their first encounter.
GGG is not ancient, but he is surely not in his prime, he just turned 36 earlier this month. It’s likely his age won’t show against Martirosyan, but against a young, elite fighter, age will be a factor.
Another question is how Canelo will look. It will be a full year of inactivity for Canelo, and it is possible he is a little rusty. Additionally, if he was actually cheating, and he did not fail the tests due to contaminated beef, it is likely that he will not be as good of a fighter while clean.
We’ll never know if Canelo was actually cheating, or if it was truly from contaminated beef. I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt, but there are plenty of fans who feel he was trying to gain an advantage for the toughest fight of his career.
Regardless of your opinion on the failed drug test, the rematch is good for boxing. It is one of the few fights in the sport that will have the interest of the mainstream sports fan. The first fight did over 1 million PPV buys, and the rematch is expected to as well.
Don’t be surprised if all of this drug test drama will add even more intrigue, and result in even more PPV buys.