By Michael Marley
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, the promoter for WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., said Monday night that Andy Lee's co-manager and trainer, Emanuel Steward, is all wet in asserting that Chavez did not take a doping test Saturday night in El Paso.
Young Chavez, initially seen in boxing circles as a name brand novety act, had his greatest pro victory when he scored a seventh round TKO victory over hard-punching southpaw Lee. With the impressive showing, Chavez punched his own ticket for a major bout on Sept. 15 at the UNLV Thomas & Mack Center against stylish Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez.
Here's the meat of a Steward press release sent out minutes ago by Damian McCann, flack for Kronk Gym in Belfast:
"In the aftermath of the fight Emanuel Steward has expressed he is very concerned about whether the fight was a level playing field for both fighters to compete in. Chavez Jr. neglected to give a mandatory urine sample when he successfully defended his title against Marco Antonio Rubio in Texas in February this year.
"Team Lee have now requested confirmation and clarity from Dick Cole, the Texas State Athletic Commissioner on whether Chavez Jr. carried out an anti-doping drug test on Saturday evening and what the results are. Furthermore Emanuel Steward has a meeting with Senator John McCain, instigator of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act on July 10 and one of the items on the agenda is enhanced performance drugs being used in professional boxing.
"Emanuel Steward commented ‘Andy Lee is like a son to me, I always look after all my fighters’ health and wellbeing. I am very concerned about enhanced performance drugs being used by boxers. This is not tennis or golf; boxing is a physical combat sport where if drugs are used by one fighter then this is a disadvantage against the other fighter and causes serious damage to a fighter’s health. Are we going to wait for someone to be killed in the ring before this matter is taken seriously and dealt with?”
Poppycock, so to speak, Arum told me.
"This just ludicrous. There was a piss test." the 80-year-old Arum said by phone from his Vegas lair.
"I know this for a fact, I know Julio did the urine test at the arena right before the fight. As far as Julio's weight gain (from 160 to 180 pounds), well so what? That is certainly within the rules."
About 13,500 fans turned up at the Sun Bowl on the UTEP campus despite forecast bad weather and earlier rampant rumors and headlines about Mexican drug cartel leaders possibly attending the event, streaming across the nearby international border from Juarez.
Arum said it wasn't the squelched cartel rumors which held the crowd down when the seating was set up to accommodate 22,000 or 23,000.
"We hired a lobbyist to try to get around the no beer ruling, to overturn it, but obviously we were not successful in that. Mexicans love to go to boxing and to drink beer. So I think a lot of Mexican fans stayed home, had a party and watched the fight on HBO. Also on Friday night the weather was bad, it rained and they forecast a 30 percent chance of rain for fight night. But Saturday night, the weather was beautiful," Arum said.