CAN you claim to be doing the right thing when only recently you were caught doing the wrong thing? That’s the conundrum facing those desperate to forgive and forget and now praise Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for finally enrolling in the WBC’s Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency’s (VADA) testing programme.
Alvarez, a celebrated two-weight world champion, famously tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol in March, a result that scuppered his May 5 fight with Gennady Golovkin and led to a measly six-month suspension handed down by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Worse than that, it called into question everything Alvarez had achieved in his career to that point and, in the eyes of some, made him a man hard to believe. But, hey, that was over two months ago now. Wrists were slapped. We move on.
Besides, Canelo blamed contaminated meat for the failed test and promised all he was a clean fighter. And who are we to argue?
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, meanwhile, certainly one of the believers, last week stated Canelo would not be reinstated to their rankings until the Mexican was part of the Clean Boxing Program (handled by VADA).
“Canelo has been removed from the rankings because he failed to enrol in the Clean Boxing Program, as stated in the rules,” said Sulaiman.
“(He won’t be allowed to contest a WBC title unless) he enrols back (into the program) and he is back in the ratings.”
As if by some miracle, Alvarez has since then has announced his involvement in the VADA testing programme, much to the relief of Sulaiman, the WBC, Gennady Golovkin, his likely next opponent, and anyone who believes he has always been a clean fighter.
“I want to let you know that I just signed the contract with Vada Testing for year-round testing,” said Canelo.
His promoter Oscar De La Hoya added: “Canelo just signed a contract to year-round VADA testing.”
Canelo is a good boy. (I mean, he’s not, but that’s presumably what GGG would say if asked about this awkward and confusing situation. Then again, perhaps he’d say something else entirely.)
Two of the best combat sports promoters in the world are currently fighting over Mikey Garcia and only one of them happens to be a boxing promoter.
The first, Dana White, is a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) president reportedly on the hunt for boxing talent to sign to his new boxing promotion, Zuffa Boxing, while the second, Eddie Hearn, is the leading boxing promoter in Britain and has just completed an eight-year $1 billion deal with DAZN to promote 16 shows a year in the USA.
By virtue of the fact both are loaded, and good at what they do, Mikey Garcia can’t really go wrong.
“I honestly already have been speaking to Eddie Hearn,” Garcia told ESNews. “[I’d spoken to him about] a week before he made his announcement. He’d already reached out to me and we’ve already been talking. He’s going to be sending a proposal; he actually sent me something already.”
Earlier in the month it had seemed Dana White had stolen a march on his boxing rivals and, in conversation with Yahoo’s Kevin Iole, sounded pretty confident he’d be able to make Garcia, the reigning WBC lightweight champion, his new promotion’s first signing.
But now it seems he has stiff competition. What’s more, Hearn, backed by DAZN and almost given free rein to build an American stable, boasts a greater power and purpose than many of the US-based promoters with whom White had expected to do battle.
Set to launch in the US this July, DAZN, already popular in countries like Germany and Japan, could be game-changer for American boxing and Hearn, eyes wide open, is targeting the likes of Jermell and Jermall Charlo, Errol Spence Jr, Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner and Deontay Wilder as potential signings. And, of course, Mikey Garcia.
Let the battle commence.