By Jake Donovan
Controversy continues to swirl in the aftermath of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr’s unanimous decision win over Marco Antonio Rubio last weekend in San Antonio. Chavez Jr. made the second successful defense of his middleweight belt with a hard-fought decision over Rubio in a bout that was televised live on HBO.
The absence of a post-fight drug test left Rubio and his handlers discouraged, having waited around so the fighter could submit his sample, only for nobody from the Texas Boxing Commission to come along after the fight.
Upon revealing on Sunday their planning to file a protest, it was learned by Rubio and his handlers that drug tests are not mandatory for prize fights in the state of Texas.
“It has always been the local commission who contracts the lab and the testing procedure while the WBC supervises such,” Mauricio Sulaiman, WBC Executive Director, explained to Boxingscene.com on Monday evening. “It was the local commission who didn’t comply.”
This trumped the rumor that Chavez Jr – who struggled mightily to make weight and gained more than 20 lb. from the weigh-in to fight night – fled the arena early enough to avoid having to undergo post-fight testing.
Also aiding the WBC’s stance is a video of longtime WBC President Jose Sulaiman and Texas boxing commissioner Dickie Cole discussing the matter with Rubio’s handlers after the fight.
Calls and e-mails to Cole have yet to be returned, though the longtime commissioner publicly fell on the sword – at least as evidenced in the video - over the course of the conversation, accepting full responsibility on behalf of the commission over which he presides when questioned by Rubio’s handlers why no such tests were administered.
While accepting blame is one thing, what comes of the situation is another matter entirely. This is why Rubio and his handlers turn to the justice system when relying on honor and merit prove futile.
Where Rubio’s team is confident in the strength of their case is the fact that anti-doping policies are not only existent in WBC title fights, but also that it was in the fight contracts that such tests were to take place. The WBC confirmed that such discussions took place, and that it was a letdown to find out that its rules were not enforced.
“WBC Supervisor Alberto Leon did his (job) with complete competency and did address the anti-doping issue several times during the sanctioning of this fight,” explains Mauricio Sulaiman, who - while not on hand in San Antonio this weekend - did the necessary legwork to find out what went wrong. “This was also addressed during the rules meeting (prior to the fight, which also included HBO staff).”
Alberto Leon serves as WBC legal committee supervisor, and was the official point man in San Antonio this weekend. The attorney – whose own practice is based out of New Mexico – supported such statements. In fact, the topic was discussed at length during the rules meeting.
That the state doesn’t mandate such testing wasn’t of major concern since the commission had complied in the past with the WBC’s anti-doping policies. Yet in the end, the sanctioning body is now forced to field questions and potential protests from all sides before being able to fully act.
“When ‘anti-doping’ came up in my checklist, I specifically asked the Commission about it and the timing,” Leon stated to Boxingscene.com on Monday. “I was told in front of both camps that samples would be collected from each fighter after the fight.
“Texas routinely conducts anti-doping test for championship fights,” Leon further pointed out. “In fact, Texas conducted anti-doping test in recent WBC fights, including two Chavez Jr.'s fights (vs. Peter Manfredo last November and vs. John Duddy in June ’10).”
For now the outcome remains as-is, pending an official investigation. As of Monday evening, the WBC has yet to receive an official protest from Rubio’s camp, and declined to discuss the matter further.
“If and when (a protest) is received, the WBC will handle it in the most appropriate manner within its rules,” assured Leon.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]