By Keith Idec
Oscar De La Hoya addressed a small group of reporters Tuesday at his promotional company’s headquarters in Los Angeles.
Canelo Alvarez’s promoter might as well have been pleading his fighter’s case to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Two weeks before Alvarez will meet with the NSAC, the Golden Boy Promotions founder and CEO made an impassioned plea for the public’s leniency now that his company’s cash cow has withdrawn from one of the biggest fights of his career.
De La Hoya, Alvarez and the rest of his team claim contaminated meat was the source of the clenbuterol that resulted in Alvarez failing two performance-enhancing drugs tests administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association in February. The Mexican superstar hopes to have his middleweight championship rematch against Gennady Golovkin rescheduled soon after his suspension ends.
Alvarez won’t know the length of his suspension until he appears before the NSAC at its monthly meeting April 18 in Las Vegas. De La Hoya spoke Tuesday after Alvarez, who has been temporarily suspended by the NSAC, discussed how he always has been a clean fighter and will continue to do so.
“Thank you everyone for being here,” De La Hoya said. “And thank you, Canelo, for your honest words and sincerity. I know that there have been many questions and speculation about Canelo and the events of the last couple of weeks. Today I want to speak to Canelo’s character and how he is different from the vast majority of boxers I’ve seen in more than 25 years in this business. I can assure you that both inside and outside the ring, Canelo has always displayed a professionalism and commitment that is too often absent in this sport.”
De La Hoya, a retired six-division champion, pointed out that Alvarez never had a PED issue prior to testing positive for clenbuterol on February 17 and February 20. He’ll have a difficult time swaying skeptics convinced Alvarez intentionally ingested clenbuterol to gain an advantage during training, but that didn’t prevent De La Hoya from trying Tuesday.
“I’ve known Canelo since he was a teenager,” De La Hoya continued. “Even then, he worked hard, handled himself with grace and class and showed the utmost respect for the sport. Over the years, while some of his peers have acted foolishly and without regard or respect for the sport, Canelo has repeatedly shown he is the consummate gentleman and has gone to where he is today as a fighter through dedication, focus and hard work. Quite simply, he’s the model for what we want the best in our sport to be.
“I know my description of Canelo’s character matches what you’ve all seen from him over the years as well. I sincerely hope that given his unblemished record of having never tested positive in more than 90 tests in and out of competition, with more than 52 professional fights, you would be willing to give Canelo fair consideration.”
The 27-year-old Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) could be suspended for one year once his case is heard by the NSAC on April 18. If his suspension is limited to six months, it’d be retroactive to Alvarez’s first failed test, which means he could be cleared in time to fight Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) for his four middleweight titles September 15 in Las Vegas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.