Fightful Boxing Newsletter (11/22/19): Wilder-Ortiz II, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s Suspension, More

Latest On Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s Suspension:

The latest chapter on the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has put his upcoming fight against Daniel Jacobs in jeopardy thanks to the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspending him through December 18, two days before the planned clash against Jacobs.

The commission unanimously ruled on November 20 the suspension being extended at their monthly meeting as a result of Chavez Jr. missing a VADA drug test.

Fightful reached out to the Nevada State Athletic Commission and Bob Bennett, the executive director of the NSAC, and Bennett said the commission is not in a position to comment, saying, “Based on the fact Mr. Chavez Jr. is currently suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission pending a disciplinary hearing on December 18th, I’m not in a position to comment at this time.” Matchroom Boxing also declined to give a comment when Fightful reached out to them.

In addition, Fightful did reach out to the Arizona Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts Commission and did hear back from Ted Vogt, the Arizona Department of Gaming Director:

“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 yesterday by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in order to advise the Arizona Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts Commission on the appropriate ‘next steps.’”

The story of Chavez and the failed drug test is as follows. Matchroom Boxing had planned for Jacobs and Chavez to face each other in Las Vegas, but according to Eddie Hearn, VADA had sent out someone to test Chavez but the fight wasn’t completed at that time which included not having signed up for VADA testing yet. Chavez didn’t want to deal with the representative from VADA because he felt he didn’t need to undergo testing for a fight that hasn’t been made yet.

This effectively forced the NSAC to treat the missed test as a failed drug test and temporarily suspended him up to November 20. This resulted in Hearn moving the fight to Phoenix, a site that was already considered to host the fight when Hearn was planning this out. The fight was then announced, but given that Chavez is still suspended, it effectively put the entire event in jeopardy.

Although Chavez Jr. is suspended by Nevada, the commissions across the United States generally follow along when one commission suspends a fighter. In other words, if Chavez is suspended in Nevada, then he won’t be licensed to fight in any other state while suspended.

The move from Nevada to Arizona clearly upset the NSAC, who wrote a letter to Hearn before the November 20 ruling:

“Nevada law prohibits any promoter licensed by the NSAC from having any dealings related to unarmed combat with a person who has been suspended by the NSAC. Nevada law also prohibits a promoter from permitting a person under suspension from participating in any contest or exhibition of unarmed combat during the period of suspension. Any violation of Nevada or Federal law by a licensed promoter provides grounds for disciplinary action.

In addition, under the Ali Act, no boxer is permitted to box while under suspension from any boxing commission due to, among other things, failure of a drug test. Under Nevada law, an unarmed combatant that refuses to submit to the collection of a sample or specimen upon the request of the NSAC or its representative, or otherwise evades the collection thereof, has committed an anti-doping violation and is subject to disciplinary action just as he or she would be if he or she failed a drug test.

Based on Matchroom’s ongoing dealings with Chavez while he has been on suspension, it is apparent that Matchroom has violated Nevada law. Further, given that Chavez’s suspension is based on his refusal to submit to a drug test requested by the NSAC, and thus an anti-doping violation, it is apparent that the event scheduled to occur in Arizona on December 20, 2019, is in violation of the Ali Act. As such, Matchroom is promoting an event that potentially violates federal law.

On November 7, 2019, I contacted Shaun Palmer, Matchroom’s Head of Legal and Business Affairs, and informed him of the legal issues with Matchroom’s dealings with Chavez discussed herein. I further informed him of the potential consequences should Matchroom not take corrective measures to comply with Nevada law, including that a violation of Nevada law would be considered by the NSAC when deciding whether to renew Matchroom’s promoter’s license.”

VADA will not be doing drug testing for this fight, so Hearn has brought on Drug Free Sport, which has no history of doing drug testing in boxing but has been contracted by the NFL and NBA in the past.

Despite this, Hearn is nowhere near being in the clear as far as the NSAC is concerned. If Chavez's suspension is extended once again, then it will force the commission in Arizona to likely rule Chavez ineligible for the fight. This could either mean the cancelation of the entire event if Hearn doesn't comply or simply force Hearn to find another opponent that has been approved. In the case of the latter, it would be Gabriel Rosado, who has won just one of his last five fights and is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Maciej Sulecki back in March.

The last few years have been nothing but controversy after controversy for Chavez. Even before becoming the WBC middleweight champion in 2011, Chavez tested positive for the banned substance Furosemide, which meant a November 2009 win over Tom Rowland was overturned to a no contest. When Chavez lost his WBC world title to Sergio Martinez back in 2012, a post-fight drug test showed traces of marijuana in Chavez's system. Not to mention the 27 months of absence from boxing Chavez spent after losing to Canelo Alvarez back in 2017 has also made everyone think whether or not he will ever return to relevancy inside the ring.

For now, Hearn will have to play the waiting game until December 18 when the NSAC meets once more to give out what is presumably a final ruling on Chavez's suspension.

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