Welcome back boxing fans. I wish we had some better news to make our comeback with, but such is life.
The biggest fight of the year (so far), Canelo Alvarez v.s. Gennady Golovkin, has been cancelled due to Canelo’s positive test for a steroid known as Clenbuterol. According to people way smarter than me:
Clenbuterol is a β2 agonist with some structural and pharmacological similarities to epinephrine and salbutamol, but its effects are more potent and longer-lasting as a stimulant and thermogenic drug. It causes an increase in aerobic capacity, central nervous system stimulation, blood pressure, and oxygen transportation. It increases the rate at which body fat is metabolized while increasing the body’s basal metabolic rate(BMR). It is commonly used for smooth muscle-relaxant properties as a bronchodilator and tocolytic.
So it seems if Canelo has been taking a drug to assist in aerobic capacity and help him cut. At face value, VADA caught a cheater and the cancellation is straight forward. However the discoveries and rebuttals in the path leading up to it has been anything but. Let’s take a dive into the happenings of the past month
VADA reveals Canelo Alvarez tests positive for Clenbuterol.
Upon first break of this story, it was claimed the presence of Clenbuterol could be attributed to the consumption of tainted Mexican beef in the fighters diet. While it does sound hokey, Clenbuterol is not banned in the farming of cattle in Mexico and as a result, consuming certain types of beef can indeed lead to Clen in your system.
It is well documented tainted meat can produce a positive test, and it has happened to many athletes over the years, most notably the 2011 Mexican Soccer team. In 2011, players of the Mexico national soccer team were found with clenbuterol in their bloodstreams. They were acquitted by WADA after they claimed the clenbuterol came from contaminated food. A similar issue arose in FIFA when 109 players from multiple countries who were participating in the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico tested positive for Clen. They to were forgiven by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after they declined to prosecute any cases because the weight of evidence pointed to contamination from Mexican meat.
It is worth noting, VADA had stated the levels found in Canelo were consistent with contaminated beef. However, according to clarifications made by VADA in 2016 due to the proliferation of contaminated meat ‘excuses’
“it is not necessary to establish that the unarmed combatant intentionally, knowingly or negligently used a prohibited substance or that the unarmed combatant is otherwise at fault for the presence of the prohibited substance“
In regular person talk this means athletes are responsible for what goes in their own bodies. VADA does not have to prove the origin of the banned substance or the intent of the athlete in question; all that matters is a banned substance was detected. In other words, due to the clarifications under the VADA sanctions, Canelo will not be gifted a pass like athletes mentioned prior.
Nevada State Athletic Commission issues Canelo a 2 week suspension for failed drug tests on Feb 17th and Feb 20th.
Now boxing media is aware of not one, but two failed tests… Suspicions are rising but speculation at the time suggested Canelo would be given a slap on the wrist, Golden Boy would sweep this under the rug, and we would end up seeing a potentially tainted fight. Investigations are ongoing and the media sharks are ravenous as the test results are released:
“Test A” on February 17th in Jalisco, Mexico, which contained 0.6 – 0.8 ng/ml of Clenbuterol and Adverse
“Test B” on February 20th in Jalisco, Mexico, which contained 0.06 – 0.008 ng/ml of Clenbuterol
Okay great, we now know the official measurements, but what do they mean? Well let me tell you, because according to a scientific study on Clenbuterol absorption in humans, shit just got real.
Therapeutic dose (20, 40 and 80 micrograms/man) of clenbuterol hydrochloride, a beta 2-adrenergic stimulant, was orally administered to healthy volunteers, and the unmetabolized drug in plasma and urine was determined by enzyme immunoassay. The plasma levels of clenbuterol reached the maximum value of 0.1, 0.2 and 0.35 ng/ml, respectively, in a dose-dependent manner within 2.5 h, which lasted for over 6 h after the administration. The half-life of clenbuterol in plasma was estimated to be about 35 h. When the drug was orally administered repeatedly to men twice a day, the plasma level reached the plateau within 4 d after the initial administration. At that time, the plasma levels of the unchanged form were 0.2 to 0.3 ng/ml and 0.5 to 0.6 ng/ml at doses of 20 and 40 micrograms/man, respectively. The bound ratio of the drug to plasma protein was estimated to be 89-98% at a single administration of 80 micrograms of the drug. The cumulative urinary excretion of unchanged compound corresponded to about 20% of the administered dose as measured at 72 h following a single oral administration.
When a 40mg therapeutic dose of Clen was administered twice per day the PEAK levels after 4 days were 0.5 – 0.6 ng/ml. Compare this to Canelo’s 0.6 – 0.8 ng/ml.
I’ll let you make your own conclusions, but that sure seems to be more than what some bad meat could give you.
Canelo Alvarez v.s. Gennady Golovkin is cancelled
Nothing else to say here. Contrary to the opinions of Carter and Tom, the fight has been cancelled. A rematch, already clouded with controversy from the abysmal cards of the first, could not sustain the doping allegations circling the Canelo camp.
It’s a shame boxing fans were robbed of a rematch, but ultimately I believe the right choice was made in cancellation of the fight. Combat sports are already inherently dangerous by nature and the addition of performance enhancing drugs has the potential to mar the sport with death on PPV. VADA is doing exactly what it was designed to do by mitigating the possibility to have an enhanced opponent deal damage to a clean fighter.