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Dublin: 21 °C Wednesday 12 August, 2020

Golovkin's trainer: Clean Canelo Alvarez 'vindicated' after doping violation

Abel Sanchez believes Canelo’s performance last Saturday clears his name following February’s anti-doping violations.

GENNADY GOLOVKIN’S TRAINER, Abel Sanchez, says Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is “vindicated” after the Mexican edged out his charge on a majority decision in a memorable World middleweight championship rematch last Saturday.

Canelo Golovkin Boxing Source: Isaac Brekken

Canelo tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol on two separate occasions last February, receiving a backdated six-month suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) which caused GGG-Canelo II to be moved from May to September following a protracted negotiation process between both camps.

The Guadalajara man attributed the adverse findings to meat contamination in his native Mexico — an issue widely reported for the bones of a decade wherein farmers feed the substance to their livestock in order to produce leaner, more lucrative meat.

But whereas the build-up to their original September 2017 clash was largely respectful, Canelo’s doping violation turned the dynamic on its axis for both men in the run-in to their feverishly anticipated sequel: Golovkin was vocal in dismissing Canelo’s excuse, breaking character to accuse the lineal middleweight champion of cheating on several occasions.

His trainer, Sanchez, stopped short of labelling Alvarez a cheat but alluded to the clenbuterol scandal on several occasions. His predominant bone of contention, however, was that Alvarez fought much of the original bout on the backfoot despite promising the Mexican people a war. Sanchez accused Canelo of ‘running’, stoking the fire and, quite plainly, attempting to goad the 28-year-old into standing and trading with the heavier-handed Golovkin in the rematch.

Golovkin Alvarez Boxing Source: AP/PA Images

At the behest of NSAC, Alvarez submitted hair follicles in March to the WADA-affiliated Sports Medicine Research & Testing Laboratory in Utah. These came back clean in April, showing no presence of clenbuterol or any performance-enhancing drug in his system, lending tentative credence to the Mexican’s meat contamination claims.

Three weeks later, in bid to further clear his name, Canelo signed up for VADA’s year-round, random testing — largely to prove he would at least be void of any prohibited substance ahead of his sequel with Kazakh middleweight king Golovkin.

There was a theory within boxing circles which suggested that if Canelo was indeed intentionally dirty prior to the pair’s first fight, it would likely show in the rematch: Golovkin had marched Canelo backwards during their original clash, dominating physically and winning the fight by between two and four rounds in the eyes of the majority; surely, then, that pattern would be accentuated in Part 2, with Canelo having undergone extensive drug-testing in the preceding months and unlikely to be harbouring any artificial enhancers this time around.

What we got instead was the flame-haired Mexican fighting fire with fire, meeting Golovkin at centre-ring and hanging in the pocket with the fearsome puncher in a far more evenly-matched battle.

Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin Source: Chris Farina

Golovkin’s trainer, Sanchez, who claimed after Saturday’s scrap that he couldn’t complain about the judges’ scorecards — 114-114, 115-113 Canelo x2 (this writer scored it 114-114) — has continued to be magnanimous in the days since.

Speaking on On The Ropes Boxing Radio, the veteran trainer said of Canelo: “I think he’s vindicated. I think that he fought the kind of fight that his fans and the fans in general expected. He fought the kind of fight that he talked about.

He made a mistake [by ingesting clenbuterol] and we have to believe that he did it: he was checked 12 to 14 times for this fight and they were all negative. They put on the kind of fight that clean good fighters put on, giving us the thrills in every round.

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“The pace was unbelievable. It was great to see from the corner.

I think that we got the fight that we were all hoping we would get. We got a real classic between two of the best fighters in the middleweight division. I think they are separated by one round in the first fight and one round in this fight.

Boxing: Alvarez vs Golovkin 2 Abel Sanchez (R) Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

“The 12th round was a pivotal round in this fight”, Sanchez continued, “and two of the judges had it for Canelo.

There’s a lot of dispute about what people think but the bottom line is the three competent judges had Canelo winning by one round, and we have to accept the fact that that’s the decision.

“I think they both fought a fantastic fight. Two gladiators came out of the ring as champions. They both gave everything in the ring and I think that’s what we wanted.”

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