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Canelo fallout: Alvarez maintains innocence, O’Sullivan likely replacement

Canelo Alvarez is out, and Spike O’Sullivan seems the most likely replacement against Gennady Golovkin.

Gennady Golovkin v Canelo Alvarez Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Canelo Alvarez on Tuesday dispelled the cloudy haze which hung over his May 5 sequel scrap against Gennady Golovkin.

OK, most of the haze...

The Mexican middleweight at a press conference at the office of his promoter, Golden Boy, stated that he was pulling himself from the event.

A hearing is set by the Nevada commission, for April 18, at which the commission would be deciding on the fighter’s fate, after PED testing showed that on Feb. 17 and Feb. 20 he tested positive for the presence of the weight loss accelerant/stamina elevator clenbuterol.

But Canelo (49-1-2; age 27) got out ahead of that event. GBP’s Eric Gomez said at the presser/call that Canelo was out, wouldn’t be fighting May 5, so, GGG will have the date to himself. (And GGS’s people said today they will go ahead with a fight, with a foe and details of platform and site, to come.)

The boxer himself maintained he didn’t take clenbuterol knowingly, and is keen to restore his rep, doing whatever testing he has to do to show all theat he’s a clean fighter. A doctor, one Miguel Ángel Nazul, spoke on his behalf, and said the levels found in those tests were at a point consistent with eating tainted meat, and there wasn’t enough of the chemical there to give the fighter any enhancement of his performance.

“I am truly shocked by what has happened. I don’t want anyone to have doubts about my integrity. I have always been a clean fighter and will be a clean fighter,” Canelo said. “To my fans, I have not let you down. I have always been a fighter with integrity. I am proud of the career which I have had, a career in which I have never done anything illegal to disrespect the sport.”

Promoter Oscar De La Hoya also spoke on Canelo’s behalf, testifying to his character.

“I want to speak to Canelo’s character and how he is different than the vast majority of boxers I have seen in more than 25 years in this business,” De La Hoya said. “I can assure that Canelo has always displayed a professionalism and commitment that is often absent in this sport.”

So, they try and look forward. Canelo said he would respect the commission’s ruling on April 18. It will almost certainly contain the elongation of the suspension he’s been under since word broke he tested positive. His lawyer also said that he’d be working to provide more conclusive proof that the clenbuterol wasn’t knowingly ingested. Team Canelo had during the course of the Nevada commission investigation provided materials which sought to prove he’d eaten meat while in Mexico, which they believe is why his samples showed clenbuterol.

As for GGG, his promoter, Tom Loeffler, is sifting ideas on what to do May 5. Don’t cancel travel plans to Vegas for May 5, that is his message.

“GGG will still fight in Vegas May 5,” he told me. Against who, PPV, non PPV, that’s still TBD.

We’ve heard on the proverbial grapevine that Spike O’Sullivan (27-2; age 34) will get the call, and the fighter co-promoted by Ken Casey with Golden Boy would be meeting Golovkin on pay-per-view. Others have raised their hands and volunteered for duty. Demetrius Andrade, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Zurdo Ramirez, and Sergiy Derevyanchenko have also said they’d sub in for Canelo.

Nevada executive director Bob Bennett checked in with SB Nation after the ‘Canelo is out’ conference. I asked him if Canelo’s move might influence the tribunal one way or another?

“The hearing is what’s most important,” he told me. If Canelo “decides to take ownership,” and “say, ‘I am responsible,’” that could absolutely affect their ruling, he believes. For the record, these days, a first-time steroid offender receives a one-year ban in Nevada, but if ownership is taken by Canelo, “the commission could reduce that up to fifty percent.”

So, maybe Canelo gets a one-year ban handed down on April 18, retroactive to Feb. 17, the date of the first positive. But if he shows proper penitence at the hearing, he could be banned for six months, and thus be available for duty by mid August. Get it?

So, your thoughts? Was this the right course of action by Canelo and company? I think it was, if for no other reason than it was looking for weeks now that the commission tribunal would be ruling against him. So why not yank the band aid off, DIY, rather than have it done by someone else?

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