LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Mexican middleweight Saul "Canelo" Alvarez was temporarily suspended by Nevada boxing authorities on Friday (March 23) over positive drug tests, putting his May 5 title rematch with Gennady Golovkin in jeopardy.
"Mr. Alvarez is temporarily suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission per the executive director for his adverse analytical findings, that being Clenbuterol, on February 17 and 20," a statement by commission executive director Bob Bennett said.
"A commission hearing is scheduled for April 10, 2018 to hear from Mr. Alvarez or for Mr. Alvarez to attend."
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Bennett declined to comment on the status of the May 5 fight in Las Vegas.
Golden Boy Promotions, who handle Alvarez, reiterated their stance that the fighter hadn't intentionally taken a banned drug.
"We respect the Nevada State Athletic Commission's process and will vigorously present Canelo's case throughout," Golden Boy said in a statement issued by Stefan Friedman. "Over his career, Canelo has tested clean more than 90 times and would never intentionally take a banned substance."
Golden Boy had already acknowledged the fighter tested positive for banned Clenbuterol, blaming the result on tainted meat in Mexico, where the drug is sometimes used to fatten cattle.
They said Alvarez would move his training camp from Mexico to the United States and would "submit to any number and variety of additional tests" deemed necessary in the build up to the May bout.
Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler told the Los Angeles Times that the Kazakh "is still training like he's going to fight on May 5 and hopefully it's against Canelo".
Loeffler said the Nevada commission had told him Alvarez's temporary suspension was mandated by their regulations until a hearing has been held.
"They told us Canelo has complied with follow-up testing and everything they've asked of him, but under their rules they had to issue a suspension," he said.
"We've always said this is under the supervision of Nevada and this shows they are doing a thorough investigation and we commend them for that," Loeffler said.
Undefeated Golovkin and Alvarez fought to a split draw in a Sept 16 thriller that ended amid some controversy.
While one judge scored the fight for Golovkin and one had it even, there was widespread astonishment at the card of judge Adalaide Byrd, who marked it 118-110 in favor of Alvarez.
On Tuesday, Golovkin scoffed at the claim that tainted meat had led to Alvarez's failed tests, baldly branding him a drugs cheat in comments to reporters at his mountain training camp in Big Bear, California.
"Forget Mexican meat," Golovkin said. "Come on. I told you. This is not Mexican meat. Ask him. Ask his team, his promotion. Everything.
"Canelo's cheating. They're using these drugs and everybody's trying to pretend it's not happening. And you're asking again about meat? There's nothing about meat. Maybe it's Mexican water."
Golovkin also accused Nevada authorities of going easy on Alvarez.
"I don't think I would have had the same amount of benefits he has had," Golovkin said.