Canelo Álvarez pulls out of Gennady Golovkin fight over doping ban threat

One of the most anticipated fights of the year is off after Canelo lvarez withdrew from his rematch with Gennady Golovkin

One of the most anticipated fights of the year is off after Canelo Álvarez withdrew from his rematch with Gennady Golovkin.

Álvarez was under a temporary suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in connection with a pair of failed drug tests in February. Àlvarez claims the results were due to contaminated meat he had eaten in Mexico but he may face a ban of nine to 24 months at a hearing scheduled for later this month. Even a reduced suspension would have precluded Álvarez from participating in the scheduled 5 May fight in Las Vegas, a sequel to last year’s controversial draw at the T-Mobile Arena.

On Tuesday, Álvarez maintained he had not taken banned substances deliberately. “I am truly shocked about what has happened and for those who have doubts and suspicions about my integrity I have always been and always will be clean fighter,” he said. “I want to apologize to HBO, Tecate and Hennessy and all my other sponsors, the media and to everyone who is involved in the promotion of this event and especially to the fans. I respect this sport. I will always be a clean fighter.”

Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez said the doping hearing made it difficult to promote the fight. “We’re going to have to cancel the 5 May rematch,” he said. “As you all know there is a hearing on 18 April and it’s extremely unlikely this will get resolved by then properly and we need enough time to promote this fight.”

Golovkin still plans to fight on 5 May, and is looking for a new opponent, while Golovkin and Álvarez are still likely to fight again in the near future. A first offense rarely lands a ban of longer than a year, and the Mexican fighter can reduce that if he complies with the terms of the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspension.

Golovkin, for his part, called his opponent a cheat last month. “Again with Mexican meat? Come on,” Golovkin said.

“I told you, it’s not Mexican meat,” Golovkin added. “This is Canelo. This is his team. This is his promotion … Canelo is cheating. They’re using these drugs, and everybody is just trying to pretend it’s not happening.”

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