The time is almost here for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez to attend a hearing before the Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding his two failed drug tests.
Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KO’s) tested positive for trace amounts of the banned substance clenbuterol in random urine tests conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on Feb. 17 and Feb. 20 in his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico. As a result, he was temporarily suspended by the commission.
Alvarez could face anywhere from a six-month to a one-year suspension. If he is slapped with a six-month, Canelo will be eligible to fight again by August.
The meeting was initially slated for April 10, but was pushed back a week to Wednesday, April 18, after the commission had completed its investigation, and filed an official complaint against the boxer.
Alvarez will attend the hearing via telephone.
Since the news broke that Canelo tested positive for clenbuterol in early March, he has since withdrawn from his highly-anticipated rematch with unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin, which was set for May 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and even underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last week to remove a cyst.
Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez initially stated that the operation was nothing more than “cosmetic,” but Canelo was forced to set the record straight.
“I share that today I had to undergo an arthroscopic surgery to repair the internal femoral cartilage and eliminate a pathological fold of my right knee,” Alvarez said on Instagram in comments translated from Spanish. “I dismiss the erroneous information published by Golden Boy president Eric Gomez. Thanks for worrying!! And in three to four weeks I’ll be like new.”
Gomez later told ESPN that there was some confusion in the translation of the description of Alvarez’s surgery from Spanish to English.
“He had a cyst taken out of his knee,” Gomez told ESPN Friday night. “It’s not an injury. Since the fight [with Gennady Golovkin] was canceled, now was the time for him to take care of it. It was something that has been bothering him. And so now, since he isn’t fighting, it was time to take care of it. But he would have been ready to fight on May 5 if there was a fight. There is no structural problem with his knee.”
As shown with Gomez, sometimes translations can be misinterpreted. However, it has to be asked. Is there any tension between Canelo and his promotional company? Will he leave Golden Boy Promotions?
Canelo, 27, has been with the promotional company since 2010, and won his first world title under its tutelage in 2011. Since then, they have enjoyed much success. Alvarez outpointed Austin Trout to unify the 154-pound world title belts in 2013, and suffered his first loss to Floyd Mayweather later in 2013. However, the fight set the all-time revenue record at the time, before being trounced by Mayweather-Pacquiao in 2015. Canelo also beat former four-division world champion Miguel Cotto later in 2015 by unanimous decision to become a two-division titlist.
But perhaps it is time for Alvarez to take full control of his career after this latest debacle. When the aforementioned Mayweather paid $750,000 to buy himself out of his contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, it turned out to be the best decision of his career.
When Mayweather’s request for a $20 million guaranteed purse to fight Canelo’s boss, Oscar De La Hoya, was turned down, the former five-division world champion jumped ship. Mayweather earned more than $30 million from the fight and not only did he beat De La Hoya; he also became the cash cow of the sport.
De La Hoya also successfully sued to get out of his contract in 2001.
I am not at all suggesting that if Canelo leaves Golden Boy that he will become the richest fighter in boxing history. However, he might be better off, particularly concerning the dark cloud that has been hovering above him and Golden Boy since the news.
The concern for Golden Boy moving forward is their stable. Who do they have to take Canelo’s place during his suspension and potential departure?
No one — at least not right now. However, their future appears to be pretty bright.
2017 FightNights.com’s Prospect of the Year Ryan Garcia is a probable target. But just how fast is Golden Boy willing to move him up? If Garcia continues to fight at his current rate of five fights a year more or less, he should have a legitimate world title shot very soon, maybe even towards the latter end of the year.
De La Hoya has also tried to sway WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KO’s) to come to his neck of the woods. However, the 32-year-old “Bronze Bomber” previously left Golden Boy to join Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions once the company was formed.
Aside from Garcia, De La Hoya also has a squad of young talent, including 154-pound champion Sadam Ali, Joseph Diaz, who fights Gary Russell Jr. on May 19 for the WBC featherweight title, Diego De La Hoya, and the hard-hitting Vergil Ortiz Jr.
Canelo signed a multi-year, multi-fight contract extension with Golden Boy Promotions in 2015, albeit the financial terms of the deal as well as the number of years and fights, were not announced.
But it will be interesting to see if Golden Boy tries to ink another extension with its cash cow, or if Canelo is willing to take on the world on his own.
Either way, it looks like Golden Boy will be just fine without Canelo.