by David P. Greisman
Middleweight prospect J’Leon Love has been suspended for six months, fined $10,000 and had his win over Gabriel Rosado overturned as a result of his testing positive for a banned diuretic.
The punishment was unanimously approved by the Nevada Athletic Commission at its June 28 hearing. The $10,000 is one-tenth of his $100,000 purse. The suspension will expire in early November, as it dates back to the night of his fight.
Love had tested positive for Hydrochlorothiazide. Diuretics cause a person to urinate more, and they can also be used as masking agents. Love did have difficulty making weight for this bout. He arrived late for the weigh-in, came in over the limit at 161.5 pounds and then came back later to make 160.
Love would go on to win a debated split decision over Rosado on the undercard to Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero, bringing his record to 16-0 with 8 knockouts. That win will now be a “no contest” instead, which means the 25-year-old is once again 15-0. Rosado returns to 21-6 with 13 knockouts.
Love admitted to using the diuretic and not disclosing that on his prefight medical questionnaire.
His attorney asked for leniency, appealing to the commissioners to consider that Love’s older brother had been murdered in late March, that Love was left to help find a way to care for his brother’s nine children, and that Love had made some poor choices.
Nevertheless, Love told commissioners that he took “full responsibility” for his actions.
He said that he had lost 12 pounds in one day prior to taking the pill. But when the final weight wasn’t coming off, and with just one day to go, he took a pill — without asking what it was — from strength and conditioning coach Bob Ware.
Ware told him that the pill would get the water out of his system, Love said.
Afterward, “I was up all night in the gym trying to lose the weight. Even after, we realized the pill didn’t work,” Love testified to the commissioners. “We had to go lose it. The pill was just in my system. It didn’t help me lose anything.”
Despite having taken the pill barely 24 hours before the weigh-in, he didn’t mention it on the commission questionnaire.
“I didn’t think to put it down,” Love said. “I wasn’t trying to hide anything.”
He said he’s never taken any other pills from anyone.
Earlier in the hearing, he told the commission: “I never took anything in my life. I’ve never done drugs. I can pass a drug test any day of the week.”
He told the commission that he is no longer working with Ware.
After handing down the punishment, the commission briefly discussed the prospect of a disciplinary hearing for Ware.
Love wasn’t the only boxer on that card to come up positive for a banned diuretic. Matt Garretson, a super middleweight who fought much earlier in the day, came up positive for Furosemide. Garretson lost his bout against Lanell Bellows via fourth-round stoppage and is now 2-1 with 1 knockout. Bellows is now 4-0-1 with 4 knockouts.
Garretson was fined $900, or 30 percent of his $3,000 purse, and was suspended for nine months.
Other boxers have tested positive in recent years for Furosemide, which is also known as Lasix. Those names include Ricardo Mayorga and Rosendo Alvarez in 2006, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2009, and Joan Guzman in 2010, and James De La Rosa last month.
Ali Funeka tested positive for Hydrochlorothiazide in 2010.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org