Canelo Alvarez, left, Oscar De La Hoya, center, and Gennady Golovkin pose during a news conference in February. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

As Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and his promoters explained it earlier this month, his positive test for a banned substance was the result of consuming some bad Mexican meat, an unfortunate accident that “had never happened” to him before. To Gennady Golovkin, though, it was part of a pattern of cheating by Alvarez, one that should come as no surprise, given that the Mexican fighter is being promoted by the “dirty” Oscar De La Hoya.

Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) offered stinging criticism of Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) and De la Hoya Tuesday at his training camp in Southern California, where he is preparing to take on Alvarez on May 5, in a rematch of their highly anticipated September showdown that ended in a controversial draw. The May fight, set to take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, could be derailed by a ruling against Alvarez from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but for the time being, both middleweights are proceeding with the expectation that they will square off.

“Again with Mexican meat? Come on,” Golovkin said (via the AP). “I told you, it’s not Mexican meat. This is Canelo. This is his team. This is his promotion. …

“Canelo is cheating. They’re using these drugs, and everybody is just trying to pretend it’s not happening.”

In samples taken in February, Alvarez tested positive for Clenbuterol, a stimulant banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. It helps burn fat and increase lean muscle mass, and is used by some cattle ranchers in Mexico, a fact brought up over the years by some athletes who have failed tests for performance-enhancing drugs. In 2016, the NFL sent a letter to its players warning them not to eat “large quantities of meat” while visiting Mexico, lest they be discovered to have Clenbuterol in their systems.

“I am an athlete who respects the sport and this surprises me and bothers me because it had never happened to me,” Alvarez said after his positive test. “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.”

An official with De La Hoya’s company, Golden Boy Promotions, told ESPN that Alvarez has subsequently been tested three times in March and come up clean on each occasion. “He doesn’t sound like a confident fighter,” the official, Eric Gomez, said of Golovkin. “It sounds like he wants to try to find a way out of the fight. If that’s what he wants, he should just say so.”

Golovkin referred to photos and videos he said he and his promoter, Tom Loeffler, were sent from the weigh-in for the September fight. The two have claimed they show Alvarez consuming a mysterious pill after the weigh-in, and appearing to have injection marks on his abdomen.

“It was pretty obvious when [Alvarez’s] muscles were all [enlarged] … and with the traces of injections, which were visible,” Golovkin said Tuesday. “Before the first fight, I knew he was not clean.

“I can talk about Oscar De La Hoya, too. He is also not clean. He’s dirty.”

De La Hoya is a former top-tier boxer in his own right, one who in the past called for boxing to enact Olympic-style drug testing. Well before he retired from the ring in 2009, he formed Golden Boy, which now promotes dozens of boxers, including six world champions apart from Alvarez.

Gomez took issue with Golovkin’s accusations, saying, “The remarks about the needle marks, the remarks about Oscar, the defamatory things he said, we’ll deal with them appropriately.” He added, “As for Canelo, he is focused on his training. He didn’t need any more motivation, but now he has it.”

“This guy, he knows,” Golovkin said of Alvarez’s claims of taking the substance by accident. “This is not his first day in boxing. He proves he gets benefits from everyone and he can get away with it. Check him on a lie detector, and then we can find out everything.”

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