Alvarez-Golovkin rematch officially cancelled due to doping violation

Boxing fans will have to wait a little longer for the most hotly anticipated rematch fo 2018. The May 5 bout between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin has been cancelled. Alvarez officially withdrew from the match on Tuesday after learning he would not be cleared to fight in time while his doping case is reviewed, despite still insisting his failed tests were the result of tainted meat.

Alvarez and Golovkin fought to a controversial draw last September in one of the biggest boxing matches in history, so a rematch seemed like a foregone conclusion. But a pair of failed drug tests in February ended up being a major setback for Alvarez, who had never before failed a drug test in his career. While his camp says the positive result for banned substance clenbuterol can be attributed to eating tainted meat in Mexico, the Nevada State Athletic Commission placed Alvarez on a temporary suspension pending a hearing on April 18, and a six-month suspension appears to be the likely result of that hearing.

Even without Alvarez, Golovkin still plans on fighting someone on May 5. His opponent will be determined in the coming weeks, but no other middleweight matchup offers the intrigue, the sizable purse, or the pay-per-view buys of a rematch against Alvarez. One possible opponent is Sergiy Derevyanchenko, who is next in line to challenge Golovkin in the IBF rankings, but Golovkin’s camp appears to be more interested in a fight against Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, while Billy Joe Saunders suggested Golovkin come to England to fight him in June.

Alvarez could be suspended for a year, although his previous history of clean tests and his cooperation with the investigation should lead to his suspension length being cut in half. A six-month ban retroactive to the February failed tests would put Alvarez on track to return to the ring in time for Mexican Independence Day in September, where Golovkin will likely be waiting. Neither fighter was satisfied with the result of their first bout, and their desire to set the record straight makes a rescheduling of their rematch almost inevitable, regardless of any doping violations or tainted meat along the way.