Canelo Alvarez suspended for 6 months for doping violations

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

By W.G. RAMIREZ

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) Nevada boxing regulators gave Canelo Alvarez a reduced penalty for doping violations Wednesday, potentially allowing him to return to the ring in September against Gennady Golovkin.

Alvarez was given a six-month suspension instead of the standard one year for first-time violators. His May 5 fight with Golovkin was called off earlier because of the doping, but with the Nevada Athletic Commission suspension retroactive to February he would be available for a possible fight with Triple G on the traditional Mexican Independence Day weekend in September.

Golovkin, meanwhile, announced Wednesday he would fight Vanes Martirosyan in Carson, California, on the May 5 date he was supposed to meet Alvarez.

Caroline Bateman, a Nevada deputy attorney general, suggested a punishment of six months from the day of Alvarez's first positive test on Feb. 17. She said Alvarez also must undergo drug tests, but added no fine was recommended because past fines have been based on future purses.

Bateman said during the commission meeting that Alvarez has been cooperative since testing positive, which was a contributing factor in handing down a punishment less than the standard disciplinary sanction of one year.

"The only input from the Triple G side, because we feel Triple G is the most damaged person in the situation scrambling to save the May 5 date, it would have been nice to see Canelo getting a fine," said Golovkin's promoter, Tom Loeffler, who attended the hearing. "But we respect the commission's ruling."

Alvarez wasn't present at the meeting.

"I hope he's learned a lesson, that he is responsible with what he puts in his body," commission Chairman Anthony Marnell said. "And I hope to see him fighting in Nevada soon. If he follows the agreement as it's laid out then he would be able to come back and fight like any other fighter."

Alvarez was supposed to face Golovkin for his unified middleweight title next month at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but the fight was called off after the commission issued a complaint against Alvarez for testing positive to the banned performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol in his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico.

The fight would have been a rematch of their bout last September, where Alvarez got a controversial draw in a fight many thought Golovkin had clearly won.

Alvarez blamed contaminated beef in Mexico for his positive test and vowed to plead his case before the commission. But with Alvarez suspended because of the positive test and so little time between the hearing and the fight promoters decided to cancel the bout.

"Although most professional sports, international anti-doping agencies and United States boxing commissions treat meat contamination differently from other positive tests, Nevada does not. Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions respect the rules of Nevada and are therefore satisfied with the settlement agreement reached today," Golden Boy Promotions said in a statement issued after the meeting.

Alvarez had been a steady attraction in Las Vegas on the Cinco De Mayo weekend, and a consistent star on pay-per-view. The red-headed fighter is one of the most recognizable athletes in Mexico and one of the country's biggest sports heroes.

"Canelo looks forward to returning to the ring in September for Mexican Independence Day weekend to represent Mexico and boxing in what will be the sport's biggest event of the year," Golden Boy's statement said. "He is ready to continue his remarkable record of fighting at the highest level."

Loeffler said Golovkin could be ready for a September date with Alvarez. But he said Golovkin must focus first on his upcoming fight.

"Right now, we're focused on May 5," Loeffler said. "If Triple G doesn't win May 5, there's no talk about a Canelo rematch in the future. If Triple G is successful May 5, then the biggest fight in the sport of boxing is still Triple G and Canelo, and that's the fight we would try to make."

Updated April 18, 2018