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Should The Controversial GGG-Canelo Rematch Push Through?

Another day, another doping case
by Raul Maningat | Mar 29, 2018
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Golovkin-Alvarez 2 is one of the most highly anticipated—and without question, most lucrative—boxing events of the year. You’ve got Gennady Golovkin, an undefeated champion who’s downright freakish in the power department facing a Mexican superstar in Canelo Alvarez, who’s also a tremendously gifted fighter. To top it all off, their scheduled May 6 (Manila time) showdown in Las Vegas is a rematch of one of 2017’s best fights, which ended in a draw. You could just imagine how fired up the two warriors must be for the encore. Talking about what makes a great prizefight, this middleweight clash has got it all. Unfortunately, it now includes a doping mishap on the part of Alvarez.

Twice last February, Canelo tested positive for a banned substance called Clenbuterol, an anabolic agent taken by athletes to hasten weight loss. As a result, the Nevada State Athletic Commission slapped the Mexican boxer with a temporary suspension, practically putting the megafight in limbo as of this writing. Canelo’s camp blamed the failed tests on tainted meat that was unknowingly consumed. GGG, on the other hand, is calling BS. The usually calm Golovkin had harsh words for Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions, basically labeling them drug cheats.

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Of course, this debacle will go through a legal process, which will ultimately decide whether or not the bout will push through. On April 10, Canelo will be required to participate in a hearing so he can plead his case. If things were up to us, we’d take a close look at both ends of the spectrum to make a sound judgment.


Innocent until proven guilty

Sure, Canelo’s excuse sounds as ridiculous as the PCO at times, but it doesn’t mean Alvarez and his camp are lying. Reports have also come out saying that the amount of Clenbuterol found in Canelo is consistent to meat contamination that has affected athletes in Mexico and China. Connect that piece of information to the fact that Canelo never had a record of doping in 49 bouts and you could attribute the incident to nothing but bad luck. That’s why authorities are giving him a chance to explain his side. If Canelo’s willing to submit to more frequent, stricter drug testing until a week after May 6, then we’re green lighting this bout.

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May not be bad at all for GGG

No one should be subjected to facing a juiced up fighter. Not even a Kazakh cyborg soldier like GGG. However, Golovkin won’t be fighting a steroid-powered boxer if Canelo proves to be clean. If GGG would just calm down and look at this from a different perspective, he might realize he’s got a significant advantage going into a fight fully prepared as opposed to an opponent who had to deal with tons of distractions. Canelo and his team are bugging and stressing over this drug issue. Man, look at Mosley-Margarito. Just before that tiff began, Margarito got caught with a cement-like substance in hand wraps. Mosley could’ve called the fight off and gone home with his money, but he didn’t. What happened next? Sugar Shane annihilated an out-of-sorts Margarito, and handed him his first career knockout loss. GGG could definitely take inspiration from it and give Canelo a similar ass-whooping.

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Too much money on the line

Golovkin-Alvarez 2 will be the richest fight of 2018. Both Gennady and Canelo should be set for life after the rematch. And depending on their performance, they could be in for more humongous paydays in the future. As for the sport itself, this collision has enough star power and merit to give boxing a spectacular popularity boost. Nixing the fight would definitely suck big time for the boxers and the entire boxing community.


Ugly precedent

Letting Canelo’s two failed dope tests slide isn’t dope at all. On the contrary, it will set an ugly precedent. There’s a good chance boxers will risk taking PEDs, knowing that if they get caught once, there’s a way to wiggle out of trouble. And if they don’t get caught, it’s always possible that they—all juiced up, ‘roid-raging like maniacs—could seriously injure or even kill their opponents. Man, combat sports should be the one having a war on drugs.

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Unfair for GGG

It’s unacceptable for GGG, a clean, hard working, honorable champion, to face someone who didn’t play by the rules. But what if Canelo passed all the remaining drug tests leading to the fight? Does the show still need to be canceled? Well, Canelo’s positive results in February seem to be enough to pull the plug on the bout. If Alvarez gets cleared, ends up winning by knockout, and then a postfight piss exam determined he was on PEDs, then allowing him to lace up will feel like a crime. Lives are at stake in boxing, we can’t be lax when it comes to these things. If we were talking refereeing, a premature stoppage is always better than a late stoppage. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Different option

There’s no need for GGG and Canelo to turn desperate in trying to push forward with their rematch. For Gennady, if he doesn’t want to face a boxer whom he thinks is dirty, then he doesn’t have to. In Canelo’s case, if the higher-ups decide to veto the fight, he should accept it, learn from his mistake, and move on. Once their reprise falls apart, both Golovkin and Alvarez should highly consider taking on WBO 160-pound champ Billy Joe Saunders or WBA middleweight titleholder Ryota Murata. Saunders, a fleet-footed English boxer with fast hands and a faster mouth, can definitely hype a fight up to maximum levels while Murata, an elite boxer who is also an Olympic gold medalist. It's an intriguing match up for anyone. Either way, it’s going to be ka-ching for Canelo and GGG.

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So, what’s it going to be, should Golovkin-Alvarez 2 go down as scheduled or not? We’re actually torn here, but we’re slightly tipping towards letting the fight go as planned. We really can’t go against the “innocent until proven guilty” argument. At this point, the evidence isn’t enough to prove that Canelo is 100 percent guilty. For now, we’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt. But if he trips up one more time, we would totally want him banned. We’ll even campaign for it.


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