I almost refrained myself from writing an article on the Golovkin-Canelo rematch but now I have had time to reflect and listen to other opinions I just had to write something about this excellent fight that will go down in boxing history for years to come.
Once the official scorecard was announced I have admit that my initial reaction was one of shock and dismay that none of three judges had scored in favour of the Ukrainian warrior. I completely neglected the spectacle that I had just witnessed and could only view the fight in a negative manor. I applauded Golovkin’s decision to snub the American broadcaster for an immediate interview as I marched up to bed in the early hours of the morning.
A few days on and time to reflect I have had to ask myself what made me so upset with the decision? I scored the fight in favour of Golovkin 7 rounds to 5 as did many but you couldn’t really argue either way. I still don’t believe that Canelo did enough on the night to win the titles from Golovkin but why was I so aggrieved? Was it the fact that justice was not served after the first meeting or was there another underlining issue?
Then it clicked, the last time I felt this bitter towards an athlete winning a well-matched contest was the day Usain Bolt missed out on a gold medal in the 100m final against Justin Gatlin in the Rio Olympics.
In 2001, Gatlin was banned from international competition for two years after testing positive for amphetamines. A banned substance that helps improve reaction time, fatigue resistance, and increased muscle strength. After a successful appeal he was reinstated by the IAAF.
Then in 2006 Gatlin tested positive a second time for testosterone which is used to increase athletic ability.
Gatlin accepted an eight-year ban from track and field, avoiding a lifetime ban but after an appeal his ban was reduced to 4 years. Some would say that was a worthwhile punishment, but I cannot condone any sort of cheating and believe he should have been banned for life which would have sent out a strong message. This is the reason why I was so angered when Gatlin defeated Bolt as I felt that justice was not served, and he should never have been in the race in the first place.
This takes me back to Canelo and his failed drugs test for Clenbuterol in February of this year which is a performance-enhancing drug (PED). The red-headed Mexican put his failed tests down to contaminated meats which is common in Mexico, look no further that the 2011 Under-17 football World Cup in Mexico where 109 players from multiple countries tested positive for this drug. FIFA and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) did not prosecute any of those players as the weight of evidence pointed to contaminated meat.
Pro-Canelo fans will see this as a perfectly reasonable excuse but others including myself are sceptical. Whether you blame his team or Canelo himself is neither here nor there because he did fail the drug test not once but twice. Considering the millions of dollars that Canelo has at his disposal and the fact that contaminated Mexican meat is common and been in awareness for 7-years, is it just a coincidence that Canelo failed a drug test for the banned substance while preparing for the Golovkin rematch?
What is even more demoralising is the punishment that was dished out by the authorities to fellow Mexican boxer Erik Morales who was suspended for two years after testing positive for Clenbuterol in 2013. In December 2016 American heavyweight Eric Molina tested positive for the prohibited substance dexamethasone and was suspended for two years.
The double standards of the anti-doping authorities are clear to see as dexamethasone is not even a PED but a type of steroid medication that is usually used to aid an athlete’s rehabilitation.
Following Molina’s suspension, the UK Anti-Doping chief executive Nicole Sapstead said:
“Every athlete is solely responsible for what is in their system and must adhere to the strict liability principle. All athletes at any level should familiarise themselves with Wada Prohibited List and ensure they do not put themselves in a position where they may breach anti-doing regulations.”
If the safety of our boxers is the main priority, then why has Molina been banned for 2 years while Canelo only gets 6-months and was still allowed to continue training during the suspension? This was a missed opportunity by the boxing authorities that could and should have made an example of Canelo. This is the real reason why I felt so p***ed off with the Golovkin defeat, a man that has been a credit to the sport and carries himself with the upmost respect has lost to a cheat in my opinion. The 6 Vegas judges over the 24 exhilarating rounds of boxing played only a small part in the disappointment.
With all that being said BBC’s Boxing voice Mike Costello put the whole controversy into perspective for me: “Blame Canelo for the crime but you can’t blame Canelo for the punishment.”
The fight itself was one for the ages but boxing needs a thorough investigation because let’s face it money is the driving force and not a fighter’s safety.