Canelo, Clenbuterol, and Mexico’s problem with Contaminated meat

Story by Jose Cuevas

Photos by AP Images

Cotto Canelo Boxing

Canelo in his fight against Cotto (c) 2015 The Associated Press

It was recently reported that Canelo Alvarez tested positive for the substance known as Clenbuterol. Many cried foul as they believed that Canelo was trying to gain an advantage against GGG ahead of their clash this Cinco de Mayo weekend by using a performance enhancing drug. Clenbuterol however has been at the center of controversy for Mexican athletes not only in the sport of boxing, but in other sports, soccer in particular.

Gerardo Torrado, Guillermo Ochoa

Guillermo Ochoa (c) 2011 The Associated Press

Back in 2011 five Mexican soccer players including Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa tested positive for Clenbuterol and were removed from the Gold Cup tournament as a result. The players said that contaminated meat was the culprit. Sound familiar? It should as this is the same rationalization Canelo gave when his tests came back positive. This is not the first time Clenbuterol has stymied a Mexican Athlete.

Let’s again go back to 2011 when the Mexican government called for a moratorium on slaughtering cows at a beef processing plant in Central Mexico. The Associated Press reported the reason for this halt was due to many of the cows testing positive for Clenbuterol. Ex-Mexican President Felipe Calderon acknowledged that the substance was used by many farmers in hopes of the cows producing leaner meat. During that incident the Mexican authorities seized nearly 10 tons of contaminated meat.

The NFL even warned their players of the issue in Mexico, given that there were some upcoming NFL games taking place in Mexico.


Erik Morales, Pablo Cesar Cano

Erik Morales (c) 2011 The Associated Press

Back to boxing…Erik Morales suffered a similar fate as he tested positive for the banned substance back when he was set to face off against Danny Garcia. He offered the same excuse…tainted meat. Given the high frequency of Clenbuterol being used to strengthen cows in Mexico it is a very plausible defense.

Since it is so commonplace, Canelo may be the latest victim of a very unfortunate circumstance. This is the first time Canelo has tested positive for the elusive substance and I believe the benefit of the doubt should be granted to him. The good news for fight fans is that his clash with GGG is still on, tainted meat or not…



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