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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Boxer Julio Chavez Jr. suspended and fined for failing drug test

Former world boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. of Mexico will be watching from ringside over the next nine months as he was suspended for that length of time for testing positive in a drug test last year. He was hit where it hurts by the Nevada State Athletic Commission as well since they added on a fine of $900,000. Chavez was tested after losing a title fight to champion Sergio Martinez in Las Vegas on Sept. 15.

The test results revealed Chavez had marijuana in his system and it was the second offense he’s committed in Nevada over the last three years. Chavez claimed he couldn’t obtain a visa to attend the hearing on Feb. 27, so it was conducted by telephone while his lawyer showed up in person. Chavez’s team asked for a fine of just $10,000 to go along with a suspension of six months, but the athletic commission wasn’t swayed and he lost a vote 3-2. Chavez’s defense was that marijuana isn’t a performance enhancing drug.

One bonus for the boxer is the fact that the suspension is retroactive so it technically started on the night of the bout last September 15 and will end this June 15. The $900,000 fine was quite large since it represented 30 per cent of the $3 million he was paid for the contest. The fine was heavy because Chavez failed a drug test in November of 2009 for the substance Furosemide, which is typically used to mask steroid use or to help somebody lose weight.

Chavez was suspended for seven months for that incident and also fined $10,000. In addition, his win over Troy Rowland was changed by the commission to a no-decision. Chavez apologized after his latest suspension and fine and admitted it’s not good for his career and reputation. Promoter Bob Arum said he didn’t have a problem with the nine-month ban, but felt the fine was way too much and asked what other athlete has ever been fined that much. He added that Chavez could appeal it in court or choose not to pay the fine and never fight in the state of Nevada again.

The biggest fine in boxing for failing a drug test up until this one was the $100,000 which Fernando Vargas had to pay for testing positive for steroids after losing to Oscar De La Hoya back in 2002. However, Chavez’s fine is peanuts when compared to Mike Tyson’s $3 million fine for biting off part of Evander Evander Holyfield's ear in 1997.

Chavez admitted to smoking marijuana about a week before his bout with Martinez and realizes what a big mistake it was. He said he smoked it to try and relieve the enormous stress he was under. But when asked by the commission if he had smoked marijuana before he avoided the questioned and stated that he hadn’t smoked it before a fight before. Pat Lundvall of the commission said this went against him and he broke the rules.

The 27-year-old Chavez, who has a record of 46-1-1 with 32 Kos, will be training during the suspension and plans t fight the day after it ends by taking on an opponent on June 16 in Texas or Mexico City.

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