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Canelo vs Golovkin II: Max Kellerman weighs in on drug testing issue

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HBO’s Max Kellerman isn’t sure the fight will go on.

Canelo Alvarez Hosts Official After-Party At Jewel Nightclub Inside ARIA Resort & Casino Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for Jewel Nightclub

Max Kellerman, who works of course for HBO Sports as an expert boxing analyst and as part of ESPN’s First Take with Stephen A. Smith, recently gave his thoughts on the ongoing story with Canelo Alvarez, who is tentatively slated to face Gennady Golovkin in a big May 5 rematch.

That fight is in some jeopardy, because Alvarez failed a pair of drug tests, testing positive for clenbuterol, and he’s been temporarily suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, with the fight set to take place in Las Vegas. Canelo faces a hearing with the commission on April 10, with the fate of boxing’s biggest fight on the table.

Here’s what Kellerman said about the issue on First Take:

“When I hear that VADA’s involved, I think, ‘These fighters are serious,’ because they are going to get caught likely if they are doing something. That is not the case for other testing agencies. I simply don’t feel that way.

“Now, GGG has said about Canelo, basically — he hasn’t said this, but this is what I interpret he’s saying — you can test with VADA and that can send a signal that you’re clean, but if you also know Mexican meat is tainted and you can use that as a plausible denial, ‘Mexican meat is tainted, I have a place in Mexico, I live there, I sometimes eat there, I certainly am not cheating purposely,’ well you have that cover. People know that. You can test with VADA, give the impression that you’re clean, and still have plausible deniability in case you’re caught with clenbuterol.

“At that hearing, if it comes out that it’s trace amounts of clenbuterol, consistent with eating tainted meat, I think the fight will proceed. I was involved in a fight on HBO with Francisco Vargas, he fought and it was the exact same situation. It turns out it was a trace amount, the fight proceeded.

“If, on the other hand, it is the kind of amount that wouldn’t come from tainted meat, it’s severely elevated in such a way that someone’s looking for a competitive advantage here, then my prediction is we won’t see the fight. I think it depends on what comes out in that hearing.”

Right now, there is a lot of doubt about Canelo-GGG II taking place as scheduled, as crazy as that might seem. I was one of the people skeptical that Nevada would really even seriously consider, or even make a public show of considering canceling the fight, but the buzz right now has me thinking we really might not see this fight on Cinco de Mayo.

If Alvarez is ruled out, Golovkin has stated his intention to keep the fight date and find a new opponent, and at the very least, Demetrius Andrade has offered to step in, and he wouldn’t be the only one willing, surely.