Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. isn’t yet completely in the clear, but for now is cleared to fight.
The second-generation boxer was successful in his bid to secure a Temporary Restraining Order against Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and Bob Bennett, its executive director, as ruled Tuesday in the Eighth Judicial District Court in Clark County, Nevada.
With the ruling comes a clear path for Mexico’s Chavez Jr. (51-3-1, 33KOs) to proceed as planned with his scheduled fight versus Daniel Jacobs (35-3, 29KOs). The pair of former middleweight titlists will meet in a super middleweight non-title fight Friday evening at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.
“Our position was that the commission lacked subject matter jurisdiction to issue the suspension,” Ross Goodman, lead attorney for Chavez Jr. told BoxingScene.com following the ruling. “What happened today, we were able to restore all parties to the status quo. That means no more temporary suspension in the state of Nevada.”
As has been reported by BoxingScene.com throughout, this weekend’s headliner—which will stream live on DAZN—was previously in jeopardy after Chavez Jr. was issued a temporary suspension by the Nevada commission in late October due to failure to comply with an ordered drug test as contracted through Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA). Bennett ordered the test immediately after a request was filed by Eddie Hearn, Jacobs’ promoter to originally stage this event at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The sequence of events prompted Matchroom Boxing to relocate the event to the Talking Stick Resort Arena—the home of the National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Suns— pending approval from the Arizona Boxing and MMA Commission, who conditionally offered its blessing providing that Chavez Jr. still submit to random drug testing during its bi-monthly commission meeting on Nov. 13 at state headquarters in Phoenix. Hearn contracted the services of Drug Free Sport, which doesn’t carry history in boxing but has been contracted by the National Football League (NFL) as well as other sports.
Those plans, however, were at risk of falling through once the NSAC opted to extend the temporary suspension during its Nov. 20 monthly agenda hearing. The matter was argued by Chavez Jr.’s legal at the time and once again in the filed Complaint, that the suspension is unfounded on the grounds that it is unlawful to suspend an unlicensed boxer.
The development also became a matter for Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), with the suggestion of a boxer suspended by one state commission fighting under the auspices of another being a federal violation of the Muhammad Ali Act.
With the NSAC tabling his suspension, Chavez Jr. was left at the mercy of the Arizona commission, whose next meeting wasn’t scheduled until this Wednesday, two days before fight night. Fearful of losing out on the fight—and the lucrative payday to come with it—Chavez Jr. filed an official complaint with the District Court of Clark County, seeking a TRO against the NSAC, specifically naming Bennett and originally claiming the issued suspension was in violation of the boxer’s U.S. Constitutional rights.
As such, the state's attorney general's office filed an Opposition to Temporary Restraining Order, while seeking to have the matter moved to a Federal court, arguing that Chavez Jr’s case contains neither the essential element of irreparable harm nor the merits on which to succeed.
Chavez Jr. agreed to drop that claim from the official complaint, allowing the case to allow in District Court. It paid off, as he can now proceed with fight week activities, including a press conference scheduled for late Tuesday afternoon in Phoenix.
It also removed the pressure of having to keep Gabriel Rosado (24-12-1, 14KOs) on standby. The Philadelphia-bred boxer—who now lives in Los Angeles and in fact trained with Chavez Jr. at Wild Card Gym in Hollywood for this event—was long touted as the event’s insurance policy to face Jacobs should Chavez Jr. fail to make weight or fall out of the promotion for any number of reasons.
For now, the former middleweight title challenger is currently scheduled to face Mexico’s Humberto Gutierrez (33-8-2, 22KOs) in a 10-round bout on the undercard.
Regardless of how things played out, Brooklyn’s Jacobs was always due to make his super middleweight debut on the show. The former two-time middleweight titlist fights for the first time since his own Vegas-based defeat to Alvarez. His effort was far more competitive, coming up just short in a 12-round defeat to the Mexican icon in their three-belt middleweight unification clash.
Chavez Jr. returned to the ring this past August, scoring a one-round knockout of Evert Bravo in his first ring appearance since a 12-round shutout loss to countryman Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their May 2017 clash in Las Vegas.
There remains some fight regarding his case with the Nevada commission. For now, the only fight he has to worry about is the one that will finally take place in the ring this Friday.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox