The executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission filed a formal anti-doping complaint against Canelo Alvarez on Thursday, setting an April 18 hearing date.
According to the complaint, signed by executive director Bob Bennett, Alvarez will face a suspension of nine to 24 months. However, according to NAC regulation 467, section 34, paragraph 1(a), that could be reduced by up to 50 percent. A violation would make Alvarez subject to a fine of 15 to 30 percent of his purse, but given that there was no purse filed yet, that may not be applicable in this situation.
The normal suspension Nevada gives for a first-time offense of this ilk is one year, meaning Alvarez could have any penalty reduced to six months, if he cooperates. The penalty would begin retroactively to the first failure, which is Feb. 17, meaning under the best-case scenario, the earliest Alvarez could conceivably fight again would be Aug. 18.
Alvarez was in Guadalajara, Mexico, at the time and both tests were positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol. Alvarez has blamed the positive tests on contaminated meat.
The complaint puts Alvarez’s highly anticipated middleweight title bout on May 5 at T-Mobile Arena against Gennady Golovkin in serious jeopardy. Ominously for those who want to see the fight go forward, the complaint notes, “Alvarez’s utilization, ingestion and/or consumption of Clenbuterol, whether intentional or not, constitutes an anti-doping violation.”
It also notes that it is the duty of each fighter “to ensure that no prohibited substance enters his or her body … ”
Given that Alvarez is now suspended in Nevada, albeit temporarily, he is ineligible to fight anywhere in the U.S. until the situation is resolved. That means either the commission rules in favor of him or, if it imposes discipline, he serves the full penalty meted out.
Since becoming chairman in 2016, Anthony Marnell has worked hard to bring consistency into its penalties, as well as to reduce PED usage.
The five-member commission will hear arguments at the April 18 hearing, in which Alvarez is expected to attend. Alvarez will be permitted to mount a defense.
Golovkin has insisted he will fight on May 5, even if Alvarez becomes ineligible. His promoter, Tom Loeffler, has yet to name other potential opponents.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone specifically because I don’t want to jeopardize the Canelo fight,” Loeffler said. “The priority is to fight Canelo. At the same time, if for some reason there is an adverse ruling and Canelo is unable to fight, we have to make sure we get a quality opponent for Gennady, because he has made clear he wants to fight on May 5.”
Loeffler said that in the event Alvarez is out, “it makes sense” to keep a reconfigured fight in Las Vegas on that date at T-Mobile.
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