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Canelo Alvarez handed temporary suspension by NSAC

Dane McBeth
24 Mar 2018, 19:00 IST

Canelo Alvarez v Gennady Golovkin Press Conference - Los Angeles
Canelo Alvarez & Gennady Golovkin

Earlier this month boxing fans were dealt a devastating blow with the news from the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) that Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez had returned two positive tests for banned substance clenbuterol.

Since this announcement, there has been much speculation and discussion within the sport regarding how these findings will affect the fate of the upcoming rematch between the Mexican and middleweight king Gennady Golovkin who fought to a controversial split decision draw in September of 2017.

The speculation shows no signs of dying down particularly with the news reported by ESPN yesterday that the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has temporarily suspended Canelo pending a hearing on 10th April.

"Mr. Alvarez is temporarily suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for his adverse analytical findings, that being clenbuterol, on Feb. 17 and 20"

NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett

The hearing, which the Mexican boxer is required to be a part of, will discuss the findings put forward by VADA and a final decision will be made on whether the rematch currently scheduled for 5th May at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will be allowed to go ahead as planned.

The case for Alvarez

In order to avoid a suspension for the stated anti-doping violations, which carries a sentence of between six months and two years, Canelo will be required to prove to the commission that his positive tests were a result of consuming contaminated beef as he has claimed.

There are many well-documented cases of athletes testing positive for clenbuterol and this explanation is often offered by those athletes to try and clear their name. There is one particular example which may give hope to boxing fans and the Alvarez camp that the fight will be allowed to take place and that is the case of fellow countryman Francisco Vargas.

Francisco Vargas v Orlando Salido
Francisco Vargas v Orlando Salido

When VADA announced in April 2016 that Vargas had returned a positive result on one of his drugs test for the same substance which was found in Canelo's system it threw his scheduled bout against Orlando Salido in June of that year into doubt. El Bandido was found with 1.3 nanograms per millilItre of the banned substance clenbuterol in his system which is around twice as much as Canelo's levels which were found to be between 0.6 and 0.8 ng/ml.

However, he argued that he had consumed contaminated meat which is commonplace in his native Mexico. This resulted in Francisco Vargas being granted a temporary boxing license by the California State Athletic Commission with the fight being permitted to go ahead and no subsequent action was taken against the fighter.

This provides some relevant case history for Alvarez and his team to draw upon when making their defense come 10th April and it represents a glimmer of hope as far as fans are concerned.

No doubt boxing fans around the world will be following this story closely and holding their breath for some good news in the lead up to the highly anticipated rematch of the hotly contested and controversial contest between the two best middleweights in the world last year.

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