Julio Cesar Chavez Jr’s third strike with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) could prove problematic anywhere else in the United States, including his next sought destination.
The second-generation boxer once again found himself at the mercy of the Nevada commission, whose panel voted unanimously to extend his temporary suspension during its monthly meeting Wednesday morning at state headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada. The matter will be revisited during the next commission meeting, which is scheduled for Dec. 18.
Now at risk as a result is a planned Dec. 20 clash between Mexico’s Chavez Jr. (51-3-1, 33KOs) and Brooklyn’s Daniel Jacobs (35-3, 29KOs), with the super middleweight battle of former middleweight titlists–to stream live on DAZN—earlier relocated from Las Vegas to the Talking Stick Resorts Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.
Legal representatives for Chavez Jr. argued that the order to have him tested was unfounded, claiming the commission lacked jurisdiction since the boxer was neither licensed by the NSAC nor did he carry an active Federal Boxing ID. The claim was met with resistance by the state’s Attorney General, who insisted that the commission does in fact have the jurisdiction to investigate any athlete or ring official “in the best interest and welfare of the sport.”
The move was made by event promoter Eddie Hearn shortly after Chavez Jr. refused a NSAC-ordered random drug test—as contracted through Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA)—upon request this past October at Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach’s famed Wild Card Boxing Gym in Hollywood, California. Chavez Jr.—whose father Julio Sr. is a Hall of Fame former three-division champion and arguably the greatest to ever come out of Mexico—was immediately hit with a temporary suspension by the NSAC, who ordered the random test the moment the Dec. 20 event was requested by promoter Eddie Hearn.
The commission-ordered random drug test stemmed from Chavez Jr.’s sordid in-state history which includes two previous drug testing-related suspensions. A Nov. 2009 win over Troy Rowland was changed to a No-Contest after Chavez Jr. tested positive for the banned substance Furosemide. With the finding came a seven-month suspension and a $10,000 fine.
The first loss of Chavez Jr’s career—a 12-round decision to World middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in Sept. 2012 at Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas—was double the pain, as a post-fight drug test showed marijuana in his system, at the time on the list of banned substances. Because it was his second offense, the boxer was hit with a nine-month suspension and a whopping $900,000 fine, 30% of his $3 million fight purse.
Even with the new location, there could come a ripple effect from Wednesday’s hearing.
The aforementioned DAZN event was subject to approval during a Nov. 13 meeting held by the Arizona Boxing and MMA Commission, which would only previously receive approval had Chavez Jr. submitted to random drug testing. His having refused a test with VADA in October was treated similarly to that of a boxer testing positive, which results in said athlete being removed from the program and having to apply for re-enrollment, which is subject to approval.
With that in mind, Hearn sought the services of Drug Free Sport (as previously reported by BoxingScene.com contributor Thomas Hauser), which doesn’t carry history in boxing but has been contracted by the National Football League (NFL) among other sports.
However, sources have informed BoxingScene.com that any disciplinary action taken by the Nevada commission will prompt Arizona state officials to take note and hold its own emergency meeting to determine whether to honor the suspension or if there exist grounds to still proceed with the event in present form. Chavez Jr. will also have to explain the circumstances in front of any state commission in which he seeks to obtain a boxing license.
Earlier whispers have suggested that veteran middleweight Gabriel Rosado is officially on standby in the event that Chavez Jr.—whose father Julio Sr. is a Hall of Fame former three-division champion and arguably the greatest to ever come out of Mexico—was unable to go through with the main event. However, those same rumors were born of the possibility of the troubled 33-year old Mexican icon missing weight or other emergency circumstances that would require an approved opponent to be brought in to move forward with the show.
Sources have informed BoxingScene.com, however, that no such plan is presently in place nor has it come with the pre-arranged blessing of the Arizona commission.
Rosado (24-12-1, 14KOs) is currently scheduled to fight on the Dec. 20 versus the ubiquitous TBA. In an interesting plot twist, Rosado—born and bred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but who now lives and trains in Los Angeles, California—has been training at Wild Card and has sparred with Chavez Jr. in recent weeks.
For now, plans remain in place for Jacobs to move forward with his super middleweight debut. The bout will mark his first ring appearance since a competitive but clear points loss to World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (53-1-2, 36KOs) in their title unification fight this past May in Las Vegas. The loss ended Jacobs’ short-lived title reign just seven months after claiming a vacant belt in a 12-round win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko last October in New York City.
Chavez Jr. previously went 27 months between fights, with a 12-round shutout loss to Alvarez in their commercially successful Cinco de Mayo battle in May 2017 followed by an assortment of out-of-ring issues. The extended ring hiatus ended this summer, as Chavez Jr, won his first fight in more than 2 ½ years following a 1st round knockout of Evert Bravo this past August in San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox