By Jake Donovan
The plan for Dierry Jean was to bounce back from a one-sided knockout loss to Terence Crawford and come back stronger than ever in 2016.
Unfortunately, a different type of comeback is now in store. The two-time title challenger from Montreal, Canada was admitted into a rehabilitation center for substance abuse after a recent relapse. Jean's management team, Eye of the Tiger Management announced on Thursday morning that the boxer is suspended indefinitely, with his reinstatement conditional to full rehabilitation.
"He was doing fine for his training camp with Crawford, but as he has since fallen off we are left with no choice but to take this step," a genuinely concerned Camille Estephan informed BoxingScene.com on Thursday. "We have to take this very seriously."
Jean (29-2, 20KOs) was battling substance abuse prior to his first career loss, a 12-round defeat at the hands of then-140 lb. titlist Lamont Peterson nearly two years ago. At the time, the defeat was attributed to the 5'6" boxer being undersized at the weight and that a move to lightweight was imminent.
It was revealed thereafter - and resurfacing in the pre-fight build-up to his showdown with Crawford earlier this October - of his battles with past demons, Most of the past two years have been spent dedicating himself to his craft, as well as surrounding himself with the right people to ensure he live a clean and healthy life.
The training camp for his HBO-televised title fight with Crawford went as well as it could, the end result notwithstanding. The preferred course would have been to challenge for a lightweight title - a weight at which the 33-year old Jean had won four straight - but instead took the opportunity that was offered.
An internal decision was made afterward to drop back down in weight. After learning of Jean recently falling off the wagon, his handlers - who always put friendship and personal matters well ahead of the business side - didn't hesitate in deciding that boxing is now a very distant second to the one fight he first needs to win.
"We understand that substance abuse is a weakness, a sickness," Estephan notes. "We are doing what we can to help him beat this, but he has to want it for himself as well. With that, we are left with no choice. There are no two ways about it."
Jake Donovan is the mananging editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox