Canelo Alvarez, whowith unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin , was suspended for six months on Wednesday during a Nevada Athletic Commission hearing in Las Vegas.
Neither Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) nor members of Golden Boy Promotions were present at the hearing, but the fighter denied over the phone intentionally taking the banned substance clenbuterol, which appeared in trace amounts during a pair of out-of-competition urine tests collected on Feb. 17 and Feb. 20 in his home country of Mexico.
Alvarez, 27, who has blamed the test on tainted meat, reached an adjudication agreement before the hearing, which was adopted unanimously by the five-man commission panel. Still considered the division's lineal champion thanks to his victory over Miguel Cotto in 2015, Alvarez's suspension is retroactive to the first positive test, which makes Aug. 17 the date he is eligible to return, leaving the possibility of an Alvarez-Golovkin rematch open for Mexican Independence Day weekend in September.
The constant stream of(37-0-1, 33 KOs) were cited by some as playing a role in forcing the commission to discipline Alvarez despite public support from the WBA and WBC sanctioning bodies, which cited Mexico's history of meat contamination. Although the commission was never able to prove Alvarez ingested the drug knowingly, it cited its own bylaws that Alvarez's positive sample alone was a violation of anti-doping regulations.
Golovkin, 36, remained steadfast in wanting to keep his May 5 fighting date and, following weeks of speculation as to who his opponent would be after Alvarez's April 3 withdrawal,(36-3-1, 21 KOs) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, in a middleweight title defense off PPV that will air on HBO.
The cooperation of Alvarez, along with his status as a first-time offender, was cited as the reason the commission allowed a "maximum reduction" of his suspension time. Alvarez also provided documents and personal statements related to his diet surrounding the test, which was administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA).
"As we have maintained all along, the trace amounts of clenbuterol found in Canelo's system in February came from meat contamination, and we provided the Nevada State Athletic Commission with a great deal of evidence to support those facts," Golden Boy said in a statement.
The commission also ruled that Alvarez avoided a fine because the May 5 rematch did not go forward, meaning there was no fight purse to base a fine off of. As part of Alvarez's suspension, he must pay for and provide NAC with negative test results, both in and out of competition, during intervals of 21, 15 and three days before his next fight in Nevada.
"Canelo looks forward to returning to the ring in September for Mexican Independence Day weekend to represent Mexico and boxing in what will be the sport's biggest event of the year," the statement continued. "He is ready to continue his remarkable record of fighting at the highest level."
Alvarez fought Golovkin to a highly disputed draw last September in Las Vegas during an entertaining bout which most experts believed GGG had clearly won.