UPDATE: The Nevada commission told Julio Cesar Chavez Jr that his suspension stands. Chavez, the son of the Mexi-legend, can re-visit the issue during next month's scheduled hearing, Dec. 18.
On Dec. 20, Danny Jacobs is slated to come back into the boxing sphere, debuting at a new weight class, 168 pounds, after being defeated by Canelo Alvarez in his last outing.
That was then, at middleweight, and now is now…New division, new optimism, as he's able to not be as drained from weight cutting. His foe on Dec. 20 could then bear the brunt of it if Jacobs takes to the new division. That opponent is, on paper, to be Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, a 33 year old son of a certified living legend, who holds a 51-3-1 mark.
Chavez Jr has had successes in the arena, since turning pro, but has also been beset by “jackpots,” including testing positive a banned substance, a diuretic, and then marijuana, and also absorbing a DUI charge. With that in mind, extra scrutiny–rightly or wrongly–has been aimed at Chavez, who has been an intermittent participant in the game.
People who care about the structure of the sport, who seek to have contests be held on even playing fields, with no boxer enjoying a physical and/or mental edge provided by intake of banned substances, wondered what sort of level of testing Chavez would be subjected to for this planned bout. Then, some news….
On October 24, a Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) collection officer went to the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood where Chavez was training, he's been working with Freddie Roach, to collect a sample. The sample would be tested for presence of banned substances, ahead of the Dec. 20 scrap which was set to unfold at a venue in Nevada.
As put forth in a story posted to BoxingScene by Thomas Hauser, Chavez arrived at the gym, and the collection agent was already there. Chavez refused to furnish a sample. After a few hours, Chavez jetted, without giving a sample. After, he explained he doesn't have a problem giving a sample, but that Jacobs fight hadn't been made official, he hadn't signed a contract to fight the Brooklyn native. Basically, he said, why were testing protocols in place for a fight that hadn't been cemented? Of course, if the sport were to get to a place where fighters were subject to testing year round, that argument would be immaterial; if someone wanted to obtain or maintain a license to box, they'd need to agree to be tested at any time. But that isn't the case in the pugilism realm.
So, fast forward to today, Nov. 20. Chavez is scheduled to meet with members of the Nevada commission, because Nevada authorities decided to suspend Junior for refusing to take the test. Now, we will see how that plays out. But meanwhile, word is that systems are go for Jacobs vs Chavez Jr, but in Arizona, not Nevada.
Arizona authorities have agreed to play host to the bout and a fight card put together by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom, to screen on the DAZN platform.
On Nov. 19, I Tweeted out the news that VADA wasn't doing the PED testing for the Jacobs vs Chavez bout.
On social media, a check of responses saw a majority of people acting surprised, or dismayed. That perhaps speaks to how highly VADA is regarded in the testing sphere, and also, that Chavez Jr has a certain track record, and people who care if fighters are competing clean think it wise for him to be tested with an obvious level of stringency. Persons with some knowledge of testing, and of specifics of ingestion, including how long a banned substance stays in ones system, will note that the closer it is to ones fight, the more likely it is that anyone choosing to cheat will have tried to insure that their system was now clear of a verboten chemical or chemicals, and some of them responded to the Tweet with frustration, that time was a-wasting, and Chavez should be doing testing ASAP.
Promoter Eddie Hearn responded to the Tweet, with a clarification from his POV:
Hearn said VADA decided to not participate in testing for the Jacobs v Chavez Jr bout, that wasn't the choice of the the fighters. Dr. Margaret Goodman heads up VADA and she declined to respond to Hearns' contention at this time. And outfit called Drug Free Sport will be doing the sample collection and testing for the face-off, he shared.
Some fans wonder why Arizona would agree to host a fight involving a fighter suspended in another state, especially like Nevada, which holds a large number of fight cards in their borders every year. The Association of Boxing Commissions posts their regulations, and included in that pack is this:
Out of State Suspensions
All medical and administrative suspensions placed on contestants by other athletic commissions will be recognized by the supervising Commission.
So, wouldn't an Arizona reciprocate, and adhere to the Chavez Jr suspension ordered by Nevada? No, not necessarily. Refusing to supply a PED sample is not technically a “medical” issue, Chavez Jr has no “medical” condition which would render him unfit to box. Now, the term “administrative” is more so open to interpretation. “Relating to the running of a business, organization,” that is what “administrative” refers to. Would you say that Chavez Jr refusing to submit a sample for a fight he says he hadn't signed for has to do with “the running of a business?” The Arizona commission, headed by Francisco Meneses, presumably has decided that existing regulations allow him the leeway to NOT be reciprocal to the Nevada decision.
NOTE: I requested to chat with Meneses, and spoke to a media relations worker with Arizona commission on Tuesday. I was emailed a statement, fromArizona Department of Gaming Director, Ted Vogt on Wednesday:
- The Arizona Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts Commission is committed to enforcing the law and supports effective and efficient regulation that enhances unarmed combat sports.
- Our attorneys are reviewing the actions taken today by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in order to advise the Arizona Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts Commission on the appropriate “next steps”.
The Professional Boxing Safety Act, passed in 1996, meant to speak to and improve health and safety of fighters, and improve oversight, by commissions and oversight bodies, declares that each state commission will “ensure that no boxer is permitted to box while under suspension from any State boxing commission due to injury or other medical related reason, including a recent KO, injury or “requirement for a medical procedure.” Also, for “failure of a drug test,” subpar skills, and usage of aliases.
If a commission boss wants to license a boxer suspended by another state–and that desire cannot be applied if a suspension came from the above pool of hard and fast suspension terms– they must consult with the commission in the state that levied the suspension.
Meneses has, presumably, done that with the Nevada people, and then decided to welcome the Jacobs vs Chavez event to his state. Now, if Chavez had FAILED a drug test, then Meneses would not have that leeway to invite that fighter to compete in his state. Chavez, to my understanding, FAILED to provide a sample…but I think lawyers would have to hash out whether he was legally obligated to do so.
Yes, this is not a situation we see every day. It is fairly rare, in fact, and as with so many of the elements of the Safety Act and the 2000 Ali Act follow up, compliance isn't adhered to always, and maintaining compliance would rely upon law enforcement authorities using their power to investigate, and then follow up by forcing compliance, by cracking down on persons not adhering to the federal government's directives.
Stay tuned, we are guessing this story takes a few more twists and a turn or two…