After having twice tested positive for banned substances which resulted in suspensions, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr’s next fight—and career—is now in jeopardy after failing to test at all.
The second generation boxer has been issued a suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after failure to comply with an ordered random drug test ahead of his planned showdown versus Daniel Jacobs. The battle of former middleweight titlists was due to take place Dec. 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, but those plans have been severely altered in light of the recent development, which was first mentioned on social media by The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger.
Interestingly, lead promoter Eddie Hearn recently told IFL TV of plans to potentially move the show to Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a moot point as Chavez Jr’s current suspension disallows other commissions to sanction any fight in which he’s involved under the rules of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC).
BoxingScene.com has learned through sources that the test was ordered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, one of the few commissions in the country who make a concentrated effort to improve current drug testing standards. As is the case with all athletes enrolled in a drug testing program, Chavez Jr. (51-3-1, 33KOs)—who is enrolled through the World Boxing Council (WBC) Clean Boxing Program (CBP) through 2020—is required to notify testers of his whereabouts upon contact.
Sources informed BoxingScene.com that testers attempted to locate Chavez Jr. at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California, where he has been training for the aforementioned showdown with Brooklyn’s Jacobs (35-3, 29KOs). The failed attempts to collect a drug testing sample were reported back to the Nevada commission, whom has placed him on suspension until its next monthly agenda, which is scheduled for Nov. 20 at state headquarters in Las Vegas.
Each of Chavez’s two previous suspensions have come under the auspices of the NSAC. A Nov. 2009 win over Troy Rowland in Las Vegas 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 a clean version of the 33-year Mexican icon posed enough of a risk to event handlers to where a contingency plan was already discussed in putting together the card. An offer was extended to veteran contender Gabriel Rosado which would have assured him a place on the undercard and also serve as standby in the event that Chavez Jr. failed to make the super middleweight limit for what is to be Jacobs’ debut in the weight division following a close but clear points loss to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their World middleweight championship this past May.
Chavez Jr. was out of the ring for more than two years following his own loss to Alvarez, dropping a 12-round shutout to his countryman in May 2017. He resurfaced this past summer, ending the 27-month hiatus with a 1st round knockout of Evert Bravo in a light heavyweight bout this past August in San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico. The quick hit was designed to get in another fight by the end of the year, with the plan being to face Jacobs at super middleweight and the winner going on to a big run in 2020.
For now, Chavez Jr. will have to play the waiting game to learn if he will be cleared to fight in December—or ever again.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox