Pacquiao eyes next fight in Malaysia in May or June

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Manny Pacquiao, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions, is also a senator in the Philippines is seen in this file photo. — AFP

MANILA — Philippine boxing idol Manny Pacquiao said his next opponent would be either world champion Lucas Matthysse or Danny Garcia in Malaysia in May or June, after rejecting an undercard offer to face Mike Alvarado.

Pacquiao told ABS-CBN television in an interview aired Tuesday that his camp had narrowed the choices down to World Boxing Association welterweight champion Matthysse, of Argentina, or the American former WBA super-welterweight and World Boxing Council welterweight champ Garcia, who was unbeaten until last year.

"Definitely, Malaysia is where we will fight. If not May, this coming June, maybe third week of June, so the preparation will not conflict with my work," said Pacquiao, who is also a senator.

Last week Pacquiao, 39, rejected an offer to fight on the undercard of the Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford fight in the US in April. Pacquiao, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions, previously said he was eyeing an April date with Ukraine's World Boxing Organization superfeatherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko during a break from his senatorial duties.

Asked why he would fight in Malaysia, Pacquiao said "because those in Malaysia appealed to also have a fight there". Pacquiao is a national hero in the Philippines but there have been growing questions about whether the ageing boxer can still command the mammoth paydays that his fights used to earn.

He lost his WBO welterweight title to the Australian Horn last year to leave his record standing at 59 wins, seven losses and two draws, and is now in the twilight of his career.

The Filipino southpaw retired briefly in 2016 but made a comeback to retake his WBO title from Jessie Vargas just months later. He has not scored a knockout win in the past eight years. In January, Pacquiao rejected calls to retire for good, adding he did not believe his recent losses tarnished his record.

He parlayed his sporting fame to get elected to the influential Senate in 2016 and has had to juggle his training and matches with his legislative schedule.

Alvarez blames contaminated meat for positive test

Mexican middleweight boxer Saul "Canelo" Alvarez tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol after consuming contaminated meat, Golden Boy Promotions said on Monday.

A voluntary test showed Alvarez, who is scheduled to fight unbeaten middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan on May 5 in a highly-anticipated rematch, had traces of clenbuterol in his system, his promoters said in a statement.

The levels were consistent with meat contamination that had impacted dozens of athletes in Mexico over the last several years, they said.

As a result of the positive test, Golden Boy said Alvarez would immediately move his training camp to the United States from Mexico and submit to additional drug testing.

"I am an athlete who respects the sport and this surprises me and bothers me because it had never happened to me," said Alvarez. "I will submit to all the tests that require me to clarify this embarrassing situation and I trust that at the end the truth will prevail."

Golden Boy said Daniel Eichner, the director of the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited lab that conducted the tests, stated in a letter on Monday that, "These values are all within the range of what is expected from meat contamination."

At the 2011 under-17 soccer world championship held in Mexico, more than 100 players tested positive for clenbuterol, while the Mexican 2014 World Cup steered clear of beef in the run-up to the tournament due to fears about the substance. Clenbuterol is sometimes illicitly mixed into livestock feed to make meat leaner.

Alvarez and Golovkin both agreed to be randomly tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association as part of the deal for their initial fight last September and their rematch.

It was not clear whether Alvarez's positive test will affect the rematch. Alvarez has a 49-1-2 record, with his only loss coming against Floyd Mayweather in 2013. His middleweight world title bout against Golovkin last September ended in a controversial draw. — Agencies


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