SAN DIEGO, Calif., March 26, 2018 – The May 5 rematch between the world’s top middleweights Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin stands in jeopardy. This is why it’s a good idea to make refundable travel plans for a big fight.
This bout should be postponed for the good of boxing, and the best interests of the fighters and the fans. Canelo Alvarez should step forward and call for the delay himself.
After VADA drug tests taken by Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) turned up positive for the prohibited substance clenbuterol, the Nevada State Athletic Commission began an investigation, and late Friday “temporarily” suspended Alvarez, pending a full hearing in Las Vegas on April 10. The NSAC ordered Alvarez to appear.
Following original reports of the test results three weeks ago, trainer Abel Sanchez and eventually Golovkin (37-0-1, 34 KOs) himself let their feelings be known in no uncertain terms, blasting Alvarez for being dirty, cheating, and dismissing his claims the results were due to eating tainted Mexican meat.
GGG blasts Canelo for being a “cheater” and a “terrorist”
Golovkin dialed up the criticism last week during a media workout at Golovkin’s training camp in Big Bear, California. It is a side of the ultra competitive Golovkin not often on display.
“Again with Mexican meat? Come on,” Golovkin said. “I told you, it’s not Mexican meat. This is Canelo. This is his team. Canelo is cheating. They’re using these drugs, and everybody is just trying to pretend it’s not happening.”
Golovkin suggested Alvarez take a lie detector test, and also called him a “terrorist.” Golovkin acknowledged boxing isn’t the cleanest sport. The lion’s share of the boxing community including fighters and promoters are coming down on Golovkin’s side.
No response to the NSAC from Alvarez
What Golovkin, Sanchez, and promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions didn’t do is call off the bout. All insist they will let the hearing process play out, and they remain committed to going through with the rematch.
Alvarez initially issued a written statement via Golden Boy Promotions on March 5 assuring the public of his innocence when the test results were revealed. Neither has directly addressed the situation since then.
For the moment, the May 5 fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is still scheduled, and until told otherwise, all preparations are still underway. Until the hearing two weeks from now, speculation will run wild, and fans will hear from nearly everyone in boxing willing to render an opinion. But they don’t get to make the call on what’s going to happen.
Don’t wait for the NSAC, Canelo – Call off the fight yourself
The one who needs to make the call and postpone the fight is Alvarez himself. Even if he is innocent as he says, his current status is tainted. Fans don’t know what to think. Alvarez could truly be the victim of a mistake. But if he beats Golovkin on May 5, his win will forever be suspect with an invisible asterisk. The idea he might be dirty would forever ruin his legacy. As a result, no one has more to lose from these suspicions than Alvarez himself.
What’s six months where your entire sporting reputation is at stake? This is not worth the temporary loss of income to those involved, painful as it might be on a short-term basis.
Canelo must take the reins, and call off the fight until September. Until then, he needs to participate in regular drug testing until fight night. It is the only way to assure fans, Golovkin, Sanchez, and K2 the fight will be clean. No one will question the winner’s legitimacy, now or in years to come. Alvarez instantly restores some of his damaged reputation.
There is a lot more than a boxing championship at stake. Canceling the fight is like canceling a wedding on a far bigger scale. Some of the money invested in the event will never be recovered. People made plans to travel and they have spent money too. The T-Mobile Arena loses its biggest boxing event in North America this year, with the possible exception of a third fight. (No, Joshua vs. Wilder won’t happen in the United States). It’s by far the biggest moneymaker possible for everyone involved.
If you have to call off a big event, it’s better to do it as soon as you can. Even a few weeks makes a big difference.
Who fights Golovkin May 5 in Las Vegas if Canelo is out?
What happens if Alvarez and Oscar de la Hoya do the right thing?
K2 Promotions can still stage a fight for Golovkin with a replacement. WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders makes sense. Saunders holds the only title Golovkin needs to be the unified middleweight champion. He would be the first since Bernard Hopkins. Golovkin has long wanted all the belts. Saunders says he won’t be Golovkin’s “plan B,” and he is only focused on his June fight with Martin Murray. Money talks, however, and there’s a lot more money in it for Saunders than fighting the fading Murray.
Who else might take the fight? We like Japanese middleweight and Olympic gold medalist Ryota Murata (13-1, 10 KOs). Murata delivered a strong performance last October against Hassam N’Dam. Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler has a close working relationship with Murata’s co-promoter, Teiken Promotions. It would be an easy fight to make, and it’s a solid matchup with a top ten opponent.
Call us crazy, but how about Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (26-2, 18 KOs), the brawling Irish middleweight? Or let Golden Boy stay involved and recover a little money. Or give younger Irish middleweight Jason Quigley (13-0, 10 KOs) a big step up in opposition. Quigley’s got the kind of bravado telling me he’d say yes.
On the positive side, Golden Boy and K2 get six more months to hype a September fight to its peak. It will still be a big payday. Focus on your other promotions. Develop your rising stars. Canelo won’t be around forever. Ryan Garcia and JoJo Diaz, count on staying busy.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
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