MONOPOLY has a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card which can come in very handy when you’re playing the popular board game.
And, it would seem, boxing has its very own card. One that’s very useful for getting Mexican fighters caught doping out of any significant punishment. There is no mention of “Jail” on this card, no need to even be sent to jail in the first place with this beauty, but in big letters are the words, “The Clebuterol In My Veins Came From Eating Mexcian Cows”.
Erik Morales and Francisco Vargas played it when they tested positive for the banned substances and now Canelo Alvarez has used it as his get out of punishment card. Alvarez twice tested positive for clenbuterol but hey, fear not, there were only small amounts in his sample and in two subsequent tests he was clean. The subsequent suspension was not so much a slap on the wrist but a handshake and a nod that everything would be okay.
That proves nothing at all except that he had ingested a banned substance. He may well have had a substantial amount of clenbuterol in his system a couple of weeks before the test, much more than could have been explained away by ‘contaminated meat’.
His two subsequent clean tests are meaningless. Having tested positive for clenbuterol, all he then had to do is take no more, and hey presto, the banned substance would have worked his way through his system and he was ‘clean’.
I badly wanted to see the Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul Alvarez rematch but not if one of the fighters has tested positive for a banned substance. Alvarez walked away from the return this week, grumbling that his reputation has been compromised by the illegal substance that was discovered in his body, but not before both the WBA and WBC, without an investigation, declared that Canelo must be innocent.
The WBC took a huge step forward when they introduced their ‘Clean Boxing Program’ but almost every step they have taken since has been a backward one. Alvarez is a millionaire, surely with nutritional experts at his beck and call. He must have been aware of the past instances when Mexican meat has been blamed for positive tests and yet, if his claims of eating contaminated meat are true, he put this huge fight in jeopardy by eating without due care and attention.
So the WBC says he was not intending to cheat – an impossible thing for them to know – so he is not guilty. Less than six months ago, the WBC decided that Luis Nery gave a positive test due to contaminated Mexican meat but he was not suspended.
Heavyweight Luis Ortiz gave a positive test for two banned substances in September 2017, but claimed it was due to the medicine he was taking to counter high blood pressure, medicine he neglected to declare before he was tested, and he was let off with a $25,000 fine. Then, in March, he received $500,000 for fighting Deontay Wilder for the WBC title which puts that slap on the wrist into context and left the Cuban a tidy $475,000 in profit.
The WBC took strong action when Alexander Povetkin tested positive, withdrawing their sanction of the proposed eliminator with Berman Stiverne, but other than that it is difficult to think of one high profile case that has seen similar strong action.
I have said before that if you introduce a testing routine which states in big letters THE ATHLETE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING THAT GOES IN THEIR OWN BODY you need to have the moral courage to apply that rule to every fighter, however famous they may be and however much money they might generate, whether they claim it came from contaminated Mexican meat, or free roaming Scottish haggis.
France has also failed to support the testing. Their rising young heavyweight star Tony Yoka missed three scheduled tests, but has only been given a suspended suspension so fights this weekend in Paris. Can’t give a positive test if you avoid getting tested.
How very clever.