BOXING'S BIG LOSS?

The Canelo vs. Golovkin rematch is in serious jeopardy, and Mr. Alvarez has some explaining to do

Canelo Alvarez has tested positive twice. Twitter.com

Less than six weeks from now Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin are set to meet in the ring at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It’s a rematch everyone wants. The two had a spirited fight the first time around that ended in a disputed draw after most onlookers felt Golovkin did enough to get the win. Canelo/Golovkin 1 was the biggest payday of both fighters’ careers; and the sequel would in all likelihood eclipse the gate for the first matchup. The rematch is full of questions: Has Canelo’s hand speed improved enough to put Golovkin on the canvas for the first time in his career? Is the older Golovkin still the puncher he was in his physical prime? These and a myriad of other questions ran through boxing fans’ heads just a few days ago. But now, all of those questions are gone. Only one question remains on the minds of boxing fans now: will the rematch between Canelo and Golovkin even take place?

Alvarez tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol twice in February. It’s a substance that has been in the news for the past several years. Many athletes in Mexico have tested positive for clenbuterol, because meat is Mexico is often laced with the substance in order to promote quicker growth of animals. Because Alvarez’s training camp was taking place in Mexico at the time of the positive test, it’s easy to write off Canelo’s positive test as a accidental ingestion of tainted meat. And that’s exactly what Alvarez, along with his promoter Oscar De La Hoya did. Golden Boy Promotions, spearheaded by De La Hoya, released a statement blaming the positive test on Canelo eating tainted meat during his training camp in Guadalajara.

But despite Canelo’s explanation, the Nevada state athletic commission isn’t so sure. Following the positive test the NSAC slapped a temporary suspension on Alvarez. He’s set to appear before the NSAC on April 10th to explain what happened. If he can’t convince the panel that the clenbuterol ingestion was an accident, his suspension will be extended, which would kill any chance of a rematch with Golovkin, at least on May 5.

And it’s not just the NSAC who has issues with Alvarez’s explanation either. Golovkin, his scheduled opponent for May 5, isn’t buying it. Though normally mild-mannered and agreeable, Golovkin ripped into Alvarez this week. He called both Canelo and De La Hoya “dirty,” and accused Alvarez of cheating during the lead up to their first fight in September. Canelo, for his part, responded via Instagram by calling Golovkin a “little bitch,” and said he would “kick his ass” in the ring. But it seems as if at this point Canelo would be better served to save his efforts for convincing the NSAC of his innocence rather than throwing barbs at the man he’s supposed to be fighting in six weeks.

Many boxing fans have suggested that the temporary suspension of Canelo is merely a slap on the wrist, and Alvarez will be cleared of wrongdoing prior on April 10th because the fight will be lucrative for the state of Nevada. Perhaps this is the case, but several things have happened that would lead fans to believe the fight is in serious jeopardy. First, HBO held a boxing telecast on Saturday and did nothing to promote its pay-per-view broadcast of Canelo vs. Golovkin. This can’t be a coincidence; HBO is in the market of selling fights and Saturday’s boxing broadcast was a captive audience. If HBO was one hundred percent sure Canelo/GGG 2 was going to go on as scheduled they would have heavily promoted it on Saturday. Also, Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler has spoken to multiple reporters about the fact that Golovkin will fight on May 5th no matter what, and discussed contingency plans in regards to replacing Alvarez if he is unable to fight. These are not conversations Loeffler would bother with if the fight was not in doubt, because Loeffler would be better served to spend his time hyping up the rematch with Canelo.

So what should Canelo do in order to make sure the rematch with Golovkin goes off on May 5? A truthful, detailed explanation would be a start. Golovkin has said that he wants Alvarez to take a lie detector test. While these tests are not permissible in court I think passing a polygraph would do wonders for Canelo in the court of public opinion, and would likely go a long way in leniency with the NSAC as well. Furthermore it would be wise for Canelo to come up with a plausible scenario of how this tainted meat was ingested. What date did it happen? Was he at a restaurant or at home? Who paid for it? We need to see all the details in black and white. It’s true that clenbuterol tainting of meat is a problem in Mexico, but that’s all the more reason that Canelo should have been more careful than this, if it was truly an accident. Alvarez and his team should have known better. A detailed explanation from trainers and nutritionists should be required as well. In addition, Alvarez has the resources to not train in Mexico in the first place. Pledging to have all future training camps in the United States would show a commitment to never testing positive again, and would show the NSAC Canelo was taking the situation seriously.

On May 5, 2018 Gennady Golovkin will be in the ring at T-Mobile Arena, ready to put on a show. Hopefully the man across from him will be Canelo Alvarez, the two ready to put on a performance similar to the one that wowed fans in September. But if that is to happen, Canelo has a lot of explaining to do. I, along with other boxing fans, expect to get that explanation, in all its gory details, on April 10.

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TEXANS HAVE ZERO DEPTH AT CORNER

Here's what Davante Adams' big day against the Texans really proved

Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

Seven weeks into the season, Bradley Roby has been the sole bright spot playing for a secondary that has been subpar at best. He entered Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers trailing only Eric Murray for the most tackles as a defensive back, while owning the Houston Texans' only interception of the season.

During his media availability on Thursday, Roby spoke about having the Texans' confidence to trust him as the primary defender shadowing the opposing team's best receiver.

And with Davante Adams coming to NRG Stadium with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, Roby had an opportunity to illustrate why Houston's coaching staff have so much faith in him.

Three plays into the game, Roby sustained a knee injury that sidelined him the rest of the afternoon. In his absence, the Texans felt his importance competing with a depleted secondary.

Adams would go on to have a career day against the Texans. He recorded a career-best 196 receiving yards on 13-of-18 targets and two touchdowns — as the Packers handed the Texans a 35-20 loss on Sunday.

Had the Fort Worth native avoided the injury, would it have resulted in a victory for the Texans? Perhaps not. It is always hard for a team to come away victorious after going scoreless during the first half, but Roby would have limited the destruction caused by Adams. Rogers completed four deep passes where he recorded 28 or more yards, with Adams being the recipient of three.

Not only did Houston have to deal with the effects of not having their best corner shadow one of the league's premier receivers, but the team was not prepared to battle without Roby, according to Michael Thomas following the loss.

"When you lose your starting corner like that, it's going to affect [the team]," Thomas said. "Anytime you have to make adjustments. If you're not prepared, and you don't have the right mindset, then you're probably not going to get the right results you want. Maybe we could have done it a little sooner, but you definitely miss a guy like Roby. You plan on having your number one guy go against their number one guy all the time."

Roby's premature exit left the Texans with a gaping void to slowdown Rodgers and the Packers without two of their projected starting corners. Gareon Conley — who revived his career during the second half of last season — has yet to play a single snap for Houston in 2020 as he continues to recover from offseason ankle surgery.

Their lackluster performance on Sunday showcased the lack of depth and talent the Texans have in the secondary. And with the trade deadline a week away, it may be in the Texans' best interest to invest in a young defensive back they can build around in the future — especially considering the timetable on Conley's return remains unknown.

Interim head coach Romeo Crennel said on Monday that the team is hoping Roby's injury is short-term and hopes to have their top corner make his return following the bye.

At 1-6 on the year, all the Texans have left to play for is pride as they close out the remaining nine games of the season, and the best way is to prevent another receiver from recording nearly 200 yards in a single game.

For this vulnerable secondary, it is a feat easier said than done. And with the talents of Jarvis Landry, T.Y. Hilton, and A.J. Brown remaining on the schedule, it is only best for Roby to make his return to the field sooner rather than later.

"I take pride in it. It's an opportunity that not a lot of guys get throughout the league, and I'm thankful for that. Just to be able to go against the best and try my best for the team and see how I match up. I'm very thankful for that." — Roby.

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