By Jake Collins (@MelancholyFolly)
The cards were the cause of controversy in the first fight; if Adalaide Byrd was the Trump Card then we’ve just witnessed The Joker. GBP released a statement confirming that Canelo tested positive for traces of clenbuterol. Clenbuterol is mostly used as a fat burner and can aid in stamina related issues too, so it’s banned for a legitimate reason. They’ve attributed this to eating contaminated meat whilst in Mexico and the doping agency have in fairness confirmed that the amount present in the Mexican’s system is in line with meat contamination. Now this doesn’t mean he is innocent or guilty of knowingly done anything, it does however he mean he absolutely has traces of a banned substance in his system. Canelo signed up to VADA voluntarily although I can’t see anything to confirm if he is a part of the all-round yearly testing. This is what makes it interesting and doesn’t really aid in his case that this was a mistake. He had a couple of failed tests over the course of 3 days.
If you’re not being tested all year round, you can take banned supplements in cycles and effectively cheat the system. Victor Conte has explained this wonderfully in the past and I would hasten to look at his Twitter for more elucidated information in that area. One thing he has mentioned is that Canelo wouldn’t have been tested for the 4 months after their first fight – so who knows what he’s been doing since then? Which could suggest that the failed samples provided contained traces of clenbuterol not because of contaminated meat but simply because he still had traces in his system. Add that to the fact Canelo only fights twice a year and – if we want to be really accusatory – let’s look back at the weights he has fought at. He campaigned at 154 mostly, had some catchweights above 154, then went BACK to 154 with ease, then up to 164 and then to 160. That is an awful lot of weight fluctuation and the mass he put on for the 160 fight with GGG was really something. It does look suspect on the surface but to say anything more than that would frankly be conjecture.
The contaminated meat is a legitimately known issue in Mexico. At least it was a few years ago. Mexican players in football have tested positive for this previously and the NFL as recently as 2016 wanted about eating meat in Mexico for this very reason. Erik Morlaes also labelled contaminated meat as the reason for failing a test historically, so for this to assume Canelo is guilty of actively cheating is erroneous. It certainly doesn’t clear him though and an investigation needs to be carried out with the same scrutiny that it would be if he wasn’t the biggest name in boxing. Now, given that I – a make pretend boxing writer – know this information, it’s reasonably safe to assume Canelo and his team also did. So the question I think needs addressing is thus: given Canleo is a multi-million dollar superstar, why is he risking eating meat from a known area of potential contamination before the rematch of a huge fight whilst being enrolled in drug testing instead of buying organic meat directly from a farm? If you want to be particularly cynical, you could even suggest someone might intentionally consume contaminated meat to cover up for any potential trace amount being shown. For what it’s worth, I do personally think it’s a legitimate mistake or insouciance on his team’s part. That shouldn’t excuse him from a ban though. Rules are rules and unless he can specifically prove a specific meal he ate caused this then he should pay the price. Instead of covering anything up, GBP came right out and admitted the tests came back positive. To avoid any issues going forward, they’ve pledged to move the training camp to America. Fine but that doesn’t fix the problem we have now.
The real repugnant and frankly disgusting thing about this has been the response of the WBC and the WBA. The WBC have come right out and said they believe Canelo to be innocent but will (almost begrudgingly) go ahead with the investigation anyway. Let me translate that for you: Yes, he has failed a test for a banned substance but we’re not going to ban him. The WBC are very selective about this sort of thing. Luis Nery failed a drugs test just after dismantling Yamanaka. The WBC ruled this was also down to contaminated meat so did nothing but order a rematch. He then came in overweight for the rematch. Interestingly enough, Nery also happens to be Mexican. You may recall Povetkin being removed as Wilder’s mandatory and Ortiz initially too for banned substances. Those are not Mexicans, incidentally.The WBA’s comments are much more worrying. Instead of coming down hard on the failed test, Gilberto Mendoza said “This will add a bit of drama to the fight”. I adore boxing, I really do. But honestly, this sport is sometimes an absolute ******* joke.by