DSH Boxing Notebook: Canelo gives up belt, Clenbuterol's impact on Vargas-Salido bout

May 19, 2016

This week's version of The Daily Sports Herald's Boxing Notebook takes a look at Canelo Alvarez's decision to give up his title, as well as other top stories in the sport of boxing.  Check out the latest news below in the sweet science:

Canelo Alvarez relinquishes WBC belt

In a move that could scuttle a September 2016 showdown with Gennady "Triple G" Golovkin, boxing star Canelo Alvarez has decided to vacate his WBC title.

The WBC had mandated that Alvarez negotiate a deal to fight Triple G within 15 days of his win over Amir Khan.  With that deadline fast approaching, Alvarez decided to give up the belt rather than meet the 15-day deadline.  As such, Golovkin will become the sole WBC champion.

Whether this will push back the fight date remains to be seen.  If Canelo and his promoter truly want the fight, but felt they could not rush to meet the WBC's deadline, then in theory, the fight should occur because now they will have the time and freedom to negotiate as they please.

If, however, they are not genuinely serious about a September fight, then this act is simply a way to avoid a mandatory defense under the guise of "pursuing negotiations."

Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez issued the following statement on the matter:

"After much consideration, today, I instructed my team at Golden Boy Promotions to continue negotiating a fight with Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin and to finalize a deal as quickly as possible.  I also informed the WBC that I will vacate its title.
For the entirety of my career, I have taken the fights that no one wanted because I fear no man. Never has that been more true than today. I will fight 'GGG,' and I will beat 'GGG' but I will not be forced into the ring by artificial deadlines.
I am hopeful that by putting aside this ticking clock, the two teams can now negotiate this fight, and 'GGG' and I can get in the ring as soon as possible and give the fans the fight they want to see."

Canelo is the cash cow of Golden Boy Promotions, and his team likely feels that letting the fight drag into 2017 could be the wisest move, not only because the older Triple G might age a bit more, but also because the money and hype of the fight might increase.

The counter to that argument is that one of the two fighters might lose along the way, causing both to miss a golden opportunity for a large payday.

Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya issued the following statement:

"There is no denying that Canelo is the biggest star in the sport of boxing. He is eager to get in the ring with 'GGG' to show the world that he is also the best pound for pound fighter in the sport, but we won't negotiate under a forced deadline.
Now that the WBC title is off the table, I am hopeful that 'GGG' and his promoter K2 Promotions will come to the table in good faith and get this deal done."

As the bigger draw, Alvarez holds the cards, especially on the weight issue.  Golovkin has expressed that he wants the bout with a true middleweight limit of 160 pounds, while many are speculating that Alvarez, the "A" side fighter, will demand a lesser catch-weight.

For the good of the sport, let's hope such disputes resolve soon.

Toka Kahn-Clary improving

Undefeated blue-chip featherweight prospect Toka Kahn-Clary (17-0, 11 KOs) continues to show improvement, as last weekend, the 23-year-old Liberia-native knocked out seasoned veteran Orlando Rizo (19-7) in the fourth round at Sportsman Lodge in Studio City, California.  Rizo is a sparring partner of Nicolas Walters.

"I wasn't looking for a knockout, but it just happened," said Kahn-Clary.  "I stepped left and threw a left.  I didn't load up but it was accurate, hitting him right on his chin.  I was happy to get the knockout, but I was looking forward to getting in some more rounds."

Kahn-Clary, fighting out of Providence, may still be flying under the radar but he's getting closer to becoming a breakout star.  His most recent fight was his first scheduled 10-rounder.

"I put in a lot of hard roadwork, running seven miles a day, and (his head trainer) Peter (Manfredo, Sr.) really pushed me," Kahn-Clary said.  "I got some good work from Javier Fortuna, sparring him a few times, and he's a good southpaw."

A decorated American amateur who had a 131-11 record, highlighted by a gold-medal performance at the 2010 National Golden Gloves Tournament, Kahn-Clary passed on a shot to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team to turn pro three years ago.

"I just don't want to put him in with the big names just yet," said Manfredo.  "He's maturing but he's not all the way there.  He's improving all of the time, putting his combinations together better each fight.  I've also noticed that he's nice and relaxed in the ring now.  He's becoming a good boxer who always had power.  Top Rank is doing a great job moving him. Everybody's happy."

Not bad for a kid who left his mother and siblings in Liberia when he was six, only to have his father murdered a year after he arrived in the United States.  He's overcome many difficult obstacles in his young life, most of them tougher than any opponents he'll every fight, including a stretch in which he was homeless.  It's only made him tougher and an even better overall person.

"I've been boxing 10 years now," Kahn-Clary added. "Knowing what I've already accomplished, I also realize that I'm still improving.  I'll be back in the gym Monday to get ready for the next call we get about my next fight.  (Top Rank's) Brad Goodman is one of the best matchmakers in boxing.  He and everybody at Top Rank are doing a great job positioning me for a big opportunity.  That may not happen this year but, hopefully, it will sometime next year.  I'm boxing so much better now than I ever did.  I used to fight like I was in a fog but, now, my eyes are wide open."

Clenbuterol, drugs on the mind

The recent media conference call for the upcoming Francisco Vargas versus Orlando Salido bout resulted in some testy exchanges between the media and Vargas' team regarding Vargas' positive test for clenbuterol (Vargas claimed the positive result came from the consumption of contaminated beef).

When ESPN's Dan Rafael and the Los Angeles Times' Lance Pugmire began to address the issue, Ralph Heredia stopped interpreting for Vargas, and started answering the questions on his own. An edited transcript is contained below:

Dan Rafael: I think you said in the introduction that since his return to California, where he's been tested by VADA three times, is that correct?  And how much of a distraction has that been having the additional testing since what happened occurred?

Ralph Heredia:
We're the ones that requested the testing and here are some facts, Dan Rafael.  Francisco Vargas was tested in California on April 15th, no, I'm sorry, before that.  Yes, I'm sorry, he was tested on April 15th in California.  Tests came back negative.  He goes to Mexico City on April 16th. 
His mom makes one of his favorite dishes, which is carne asada with bone and it's made in broth.  He has dinner on Wednesday and there's leftovers and he eats them Thursday.  Thursday evening, VADA knocks on his door; he gets tested.  Okay, and that was on the, I believe it was on the 21st-five days later.  That test came back positive for clenbuterol.  But here's the thing.  I want you to focus on this, Dan Rafael, on the doses, as far as how much he tested it, because I did my own research with Victor Conte, that I believe is one of [indiscernible] and I just wanted to get his input. 
He tested back for clenbuterol 1.3.  What does that translate?  I was not educated to know.  He told me that most laboratories do not even test for anything under 0.20.  He was very surprised that VADA picked up 1.3.  When I had a conversation with Victor I asked him, "If you have a dirty athlete, within that grace period, what should he test?"  He says, "Ralph, any individual that tries to do something deliberate, once he will test 50, 5, 0."  So he replied and he said that basically the dosage that Francisco showed had to be some contaminated food, which was the meat.
Since then, Dan Rafael, Francisco was tested in Mexico three times right after that.  All three times it came back negative for clenbuterol.  Since then he has been tested in California two more times, okay, and those tests we're still waiting for the results because he was tested Sunday morning and Monday afternoon.  But rest assured, if he was dirty and doing something deliberate, not only would've the doses been much higher, but he would've tested positive on the first test when he was in California, which was the 15th. 

Lance Pugmire: Right.  Francisco, from your standpoint, what do you think sports fans' view of this is?  Obviously in the other sport, it can result in a very lengthy suspension.  Do you think the fans look at this like, that's just boxing or do you think-what exactly is your opinion of how this positive test was treated in this sport?

Ralph Heredia:
Let's look at some facts here, Lance.  Facts.  First of all, he tested positive for clenbuterol.  Okay?  And for those individuals who don't know clenbuterol, look into it, clenbuterol was a drug that was used back in the days for body builders to lose weight.  This gentleman did not have to lose weight.  Unfortunately in Mexico they use that for cattle.  Why?  I don't know.  I don't know if you have read, but last year they tested 200 slaughter houses, 58 were tested positive. 
Francisco did not test positive for testosterone; that's why the fight is still continuing and that's why we're still here.  Now if it would've been testosterone like Nebido, which that other gentleman tested positive for, the fight would've definitely been cancelled.  You're comparing apples to oranges, okay.  Testosterone and clenbuterol are two different things, my man.  So just because some writers happen to put steroids, it is not a steroid.  It's to lose weight. 
This gentleman, I don't know if you know this or not, but he weighed 140, 30 days out, okay.  He don't have a weight problem and if you're going to use that, you're going to use that as the fight gets closer.  What does that mean?  Seven to ten days prior to the fight, not six or seven weeks to the fight, okay.  So facts are facts.  Clenbuterol is not a testosterone.  The dosage was 1.3, okay.  The other gentleman, Nebido.  Look it up.  It's testosterone.  It's a steroid.  Simple as that and is a fact.

Lance Pugmire: Yes, I understand that, Ralph, but there's also the contention out there that clenbuterol can be used for weight cutting measures early in camp if a fighter is experiencing any kind of weight issues.  And additionally-

Ralph Heredia: One point three?

Lance Pugmire: We know.  Listen, there's also examples of micro dosing that are used in performance enhancing drug use.  So both of those issues, obviously the California Commission said it's probably okay to proceed with the fight, but both of those issues could also be a play if you're going to be completely skeptical of this test.

Ralph Heredia: Well listen, I'm not going to argue with you.  I'm not going to argue with you on that.

Sean Gibbons:
They used this in race horses in Mexico.  It's used to open up the breathing and have more strength for your conditioning, not just for cutting weight.  It absolutely does give you a benefit if he was using them; we're not saying that he was, maybe it was tainted meat, maybe someone Ralph didn't even know someone and gave him a supplement, someone gave him something. 
So if this happened 7-10 days out from the fight, we would have serious issues about going forward with the fight, but thank god it happened when it happened.  So now we feel it was caught far enough out by VADA that we feel we're going to go with their reasoning and their mistake; same issues we had years and years ago, but we didn't get the benefit that he's getting because of the different tests and stuff.  But it definitely is used as a performance enhancing if they've used it in horses here, for the breathing, for the opening up of lungs; it definitely helps you.  
The Scouting Report: Arif Magomedov versus Andrew Hernandez

This weekend's "Knockout at the D" event at Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC) will feature the exciting main event between undefeated Arif "The Predator" Magomedov 17-0, 10 KOs, and Andrew "Hurricane" Hernandez, 11-4-1, 3 KOs, in a ten-round battle for the vacant WBC United States (USNBC) Middleweight Title live on CBS Sports Network. Below is the scouting report for this bout:

Arif "The Predator" Magomedov
Andrew "Hurricane" Hernandez
17-0-0 (10 KOs)
11-4-1 (3 KOs)
Arif possesses power in both hands and puts together vicious combinations. He fights hungry and applies pressure throughout the fight.
Hernandez is a tough and fearless fighter who is also a fast starter in the ring. He has a slick right hand and is an adequate counter-puncher.
The Predator has yet to face any top-level opposition, he must be careful not to overlook The Hurricane, who has faced better opposition thus far.
Andrew lacks sufficient speed and power in his hands; he will have to utilize his movement and counter-punching skills effectively to keep Magomedov's pressure style at will.
Arif may be at a slight disadvantage, he has not faced any top ranked opponents at this point in his young career.
Hernandez will have the slight edge. He has fought better opposition and he has done so in multiple divisions; including wins against Jerry Odom and Jeff Page Jr.
Arif throws powerful combinations and good body shots. He has a unique ability to physically break his opponents down throughout the fight.
The Hurricane will be at a disadvantage here, he does not carry much pop in either hand. He has yet to record a stoppage win as a middleweight contender
He has solid speed that comes on display during his vicious combinations. He throws a left hook to the body that looks as if it were shot out of a canon.
Andrew does not possess the most effective speed, however, what he lacks in speed he makes up for in timing. He has a right hand that when timed correctly can be a game-changer in the bout.
Arif has gone a full 12 rounds once back in 2014, and has been 10 rounds on three separate occasions.
We are still uncertain on the strength of Andrew's endurance; he has yet to go a full ten rounds.
The Predator has good accuracy; he likes to fight from a close distance, which makes it much easier to hit your target.
Hernandez is also an accurate puncher, he throws meaningful shots and does not like to waste any punches.
Arif cuts off the ring well, making it uncomfortable and difficult for some of his opponents to get their punches off.
Andrew moves around the ring well, he likes to stick and move rather than allow his opponents to use him as a punching bag.
Magomedov will have the edge here, he has been down earlier in his career but managed to recover and finish the fight. He has not been in any real danger since.
The Hurricane's chin is on the fence for now. He has been stopped twice in his career, but he has also survived bouts at Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight with some big punchers.
Arif has an aggressive in-your-face style; he likes to walk his opponents down unleashing vicious combinations along the way.
Hernandez is a tough counter-puncher with more experience under his belt, he is an accurate puncher who utilizes a slick right hand when catching his opponents off guard.
The Predator has continuously strived to mix up his opposition and improve his own game. He took on a durable veteran in Darnell Boone whom he stopped early, and soon after that he out-boxed Derrick Webster, a slick technical fighter. He has completely flipped the switch here and will test his skillset against a tough and durable guy who has held his own against contenders in multiple divisions.
We are not even half-way through 2016 and this will be Hernandez's 3rd bout of the year thus far, with one of those bouts coming against Light Heavyweight prospect Ahmed Elbiali. He will now take his talents to the Middleweight division and is wasting little time in trying to make a name for himself. He will attempt to rattle the rankings by knocking off the current WBC #2 Middleweight contender, Arif Magomedov.
Crowd Support
Arif may have a solid crowd support; his aggressive and physical style is appealing to many boxing fans.
Hernandez may be at a disadvantage here; he has not fought in Las Vegas since 2013, but a win over a top ranked Middleweight here will surely put him on notice with the fans in attendance and those tuning in as well.
The Match-up
  1. Will Arif be able to handle Hernandez' larger size?
  2. Will Hernandez be able to handle Arif's come-forward style?
  3. Will Arif be able to handle Hernandez' boxing ability and be able to cut off the ring?
  4. Will Hernandez be able to take Arif's power? 

According to 2015 NABF Matchmaker of the Year, Jolene Mizzone, "Every young fighter should take a fight like this one when they are coming up and I give both guys credit for accepting the challenge.  Hernandez is coming off a win and could have waited around for a different fight, but decided to test himself against the up-and-comer Magomedov. Arif, likewise, decided to challenge himself by choosing to fight the bigger guy who moves around the ring at time."

 Beibut Shumenov to defend cruiserweight belt against Junior Wright

World Boxing Association (WBA) Interim Cruiserweight World champion Beibut Shumenov (16-2, 10 KOs) makes his first title defense this Saturday night (May 21) against WBA No. 11-rated Junior Wright (15-1-1, 12 KOs) at The Chelsea inside of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

"I'm happy to get the opportunity to fight this Saturday night," Shumenov said, "but I wish that I could fight more often.  I've been ready since January.  Every training session I gain new knowledge.  I am a completely different fighter than in my last fight."

Shumenov's last fight was back in July, in which he defeated B.J. Flores (31-1-1, 20 KOs) by 12-round unanimous decision in Las Vegas to capture the vacant WBA Interim title, making the former WBA light heavyweight champion Shumenov the first professional boxer from Kazakhstan to be a two-division world champion.

By becoming the WBA Interim cruiserweight champion, Shumenov also became the No. 1 ranked mandatory challenger for WBA Super cruiserweight titlist Denis Lebedev (28-2, 21 KOs), who also fights this Saturday in Russia against International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Victor Emilio "El Tyson de Abasto" Ramirez (22-2-1, 17 KOs) in a unification match.

The WBA has already mandated that the Lebedev-Ramirez must fight Shumenov within 120 days. The WBA, however, has failed to explain why it also declared a WBA "regular" cruiserweight world title fight this Friday night in France between No. 2 Yunier Dorticos and No. 5 Youri Kalenga (since upgraded to No. 3), especially after announcing that it would work this year to have only one world champion in each weight class.

Shumenov, of course, is risking his mandatory position by fighting Wright, the former 5-time Chicago Golden Gloves champion.

"I need to stay active," Shumenov explained.  "Every fight, I gain experience and it also helps me develop my fighting skills."

B.J. Flores to fight Roberto Santos

B.J. Flores will take on Mexico’s Roberto Santos (12-3, 5 KOs) on the undercard of the Saturday, May 21, event from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

The May 21 Showtime event features a tripleheader of 154-pound world title fights. The main event will be a rematch between WBA champion Erislandy Lara and U.S. Olympian Vanes Martirosyan, plus IBF champion Jermall Charlo battling former champion Austin Trout and unbeaten contender Jermell Charlo facing top contender John Jackson for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight world title.

Flores will make his heavyweight debut against Santos in a six-round tilt.

Twice a U.S. National Champion as an amateur, Flores seeks a run at a world title after coming up just short in a decision loss to Shumenov last July.

Born in San Francisco, but fighting out of Chandler, Arizona, Flores had won seven fights in a row before his last bout, including victories over veterans Kevin Engel and Anthony Caputo Smith. He will be opposed by the durable Mexican Santos, who has never been stopped.

Talkin' Smack

Here is the latest bit of talk from the around the sweet science:


“One difference between this fight and our last fight is that I’m coming into this fight 100 percent healthy. I’m not making any excuses but I had a fractured knuckle going into our first fight. I still felt I was winning the fight. This time I’m not going to leave any doubt about who is the best."

“I’m always stuck in controversial fights because of my fighting style."

“After I win Saturday, I would love to fight GGG or Canelo, but I would prefer GGG. It’s not frustrating that I’m not fighting the biggest names all the time. I’m a headliner."


“Austin Trout is just a name to me. He beat Cotto, so what? I have work to do. I’m focused on getting the job done."

“After this, I’m coming for the (160-pound fighters). To be a top pound-for-pound fighter you need to dominate different divisions and that is my goal. That doesn’t mean I’m struggling with weight. I feel good right now but I think I will be even stronger at 160."


“I have nothing bad to say about Jermall as a person or a fighter. But at the end of the day, the  history will be my own. I’m going to use him for my legacy, not the other way around."

On Jermall predicting a knockout . . .
“He’s dreaming. Everyone has dreams, but I’ve been known to bust people’s bubbles. No one has been able to knock me out. He thinks he’s a great man. A better man than Canelo or Lara? He’s tripping."


“I’m fighting John Jackson, the son of a legend. I don’t believe John Jackson will be able to live up to his dad and if his dad ever had to face me, I would have beat him too."

“Being on the same card as my brother is already a high standard so being on a card with the rest of the undercard guys, I’m honored and ready to show what I have to do. I’m ready to make history. I’m ready to win this belt and enjoy my vacation after."


“Jermell is just selling the fight. We don’t take anything he says personally. We’ll humble him and put him in his place."

On Jermell Charlo’s comments about his father…
“That’s disrespectful. My dad paid his dues and to talk about my dad like that is kind of disrespectful. It’s not getting to me. Fighters use that to try to get in your head but it’s fine, I’ll let him pay in the ring.’’

On what flaws he sees in his game…
“He has a lot of flaws. How he leans forward and waits a lot. But his style is perfect for my style. I always bring it and give 100 percent and we’re looking for a stoppage.


“I’ve been fighting as a pro for over 10 years. This is definitely the most important fight of my career. It’s do or die. Win and I move 10 steps forward, lose and I go 10 steps backwards."

Latest LA Fight Club to feature Ronny Rios on June 3

Local fan favorite Ronny Rios (25-1, 10 KOs) will be back in the ring for the first time since defeating Jayson Velez on the Cotto-Canelo undercard last November when the 126-pound contender makes his LA Fight Club debut on Friday, June 3, against Efrain Esquivias (17-4-1, 10 KOs) at downtown Los Angeles' historic Belasco Theater.

This 10-round main event of the popular fight series kicks off an exciting weekend of action in the Los Angeles area that will be capped off by the Saturday, June 4, showdown between WBC World Super Featherweight Champion Francisco Vargas (23-0-1, 17 KOs) and Orlando Salido (43-13-3, 30 KOs) at StubHub Center in Carson.

"This is a big weekend for boxing in Southern California, and I can't wait to see these fights on June 3 and June 4," said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya. "We're beginning with the return of Ronny Rios on June 3 at LA Fight Club featuring some of the top talent in this area, and on Saturday, June 4 the StubHub Center will host, what I think will be an early pick for Fight of the Year, Francisco Vargas vs. Orlando Salido. This is a great time to be a boxing fan and a great way to kick off the summer in Southern California."

Santa Ana's Ronny Rios has gone from amateur star to legitimate world title threat in the span of eight years. After his recent win over the previously unbeaten Velez, he is closing in on his shot at glory at 126 pounds. Owner of wins over Roger "Speedy" Gonzalez, David Rodela, Rico "Suavecito" Ramos and Leonilo "Veneno" Miranda, the popular 26-year-old is currently ranked fourth in the world by the WBC and seventh by the IBF.

A hard-nosed battler from Gardena, California, 32-year-old Efrain Esquivias can make a major statement if he defeats Rios on June 3. A former National Golden Gloves champion who has competed professionally since 2007, Esquivias has experienced ups and downs over the years, but big wins over the likes of Rafael Marquez and Fernando Beltran have proven that when he's on top of his game, he can cause anyone problems.

Beterbiev to battle Ezequiel Maderna

Unbeaten light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KOs) will battle veteran Argentine Olympian Ezequiel Maderna (23-2, 15 KOs) in a 12-round showdown that headlines Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes Saturday, June 4, from Bell Center in Montreal.

"I have never been out of the ring for a whole year as an amateur or professional so I can't wait to fight," said Beterbiev. "We've watched some tapes of Maderna and he seems like a complete fighter. We will be ready on June 4."

Beterbiev returns to his adopted homeland after last fighting in June 2015 and recovering from a shoulder surgery. A two-time Russian Olympian, Beterbiev has fought out of Montreal for his professional career that began in 2013. The 31-year-old has sent all of his opponents out within the distance including dominating performances over former world champions Tavoris Cloud and Gabriel Campillo.

Maderna turned pro in 2008 after representing his native Argentina in the 2008 Olympics and was unbeaten in his first 19 fights before losing a narrow decision to Edwin Rodriguez. Both of the 29-year-old's defeats have come to unbeaten fighters and he enters this fight on a three bout winning streak including a first round knockout of Rolando Mansilla his last time out.

"I'm working very hard in preparation of this fight," said Maderna. "My goal is to fight a perfect fight that will be very important to my professional future."

Televised coverage begins at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT and features an exciting co-main event that sees a pair of undefeated rising contenders enter the ring as Florida's Bryant Perrella (13-0, 12 KOs) squares-off against Washington, D.C.'s David Grayton (14-0, 10 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight

An undefeated 27-year-old out of Fort Myers, Florida, Perrella comes in off a second round stoppage of Ramon Ayala in January. He picked up five knockouts in a row in 2015 and looks to make it 11 in a row overall when he faces his toughest test yet on June 4.

A Washington D.C. product, Grayton was a National Golden Gloves Champion who beat Errol Spence Jr. on his way to picking up that title. The 28-year-old entered the professional ranks in 2012 and is unbeaten since. He began 2016 with a stoppage of Daniel Souza Santos in January and now looks to make his mark in a competitive welterweight battle.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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