The judges have spoken, and the results are in. Former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will be knocked out of the ring for failing a drug test. Chavez Jr. was suspended nine months and fined $900,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Thursday for failing a drug test following his loss to champion Sergio Martinez last fall in Las Vegas.
Chavez Jr. claimed ignorance last fall when news originally broke, saying “I’m not a drug addict, I have never smoked marijuana. For years I have had insomnia, so I went to the doctor and he prescribed some drops for me that contained cannabis. I stopped taking them before the fight with [Sergio] Martinez, and I didn’t think I was going to test positive,” said Chavez in Spanish from his home in Mexico. “I have great respect for [WBC president] Jose Sulaiman, I guess what they do is for my good and boxing, but I find it unfair.” Yet now, Chavez Jr admits he did in fact smoke marijuana due to anxiety over the upcoming fight.
Oscar De La Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez, Julio Jr.'s father, are two people who have openly admitted to abusing drugs and alcohol. They both have sought out treatment and have been clean and sober for several years according the individuals.
They both, like many people in America, faced drug tests and both have found ways of circumventing the truth. "The truth ... during my training, it increased more and more," Chavez said. "For example, at times, I would leave spaces of a month and a half without using drugs or alcohol, but afterwards, I would shorten that time. "Then later, it would be one month, 20 days, later 15 days. One week, four days, three days, so it would not show in the doping" tests.
"We are very intelligent," De La Hoya said. "We knew how to plan to work the system." De La Hoya, who finished his career with a 39-6 record, said that he would drink at strategic times to avoid detection.
Chavez and De La Hoya are world-class boxing greats. Two individuals that could sell out arenas, strike fear, and knock you out in a blink of an eye. They are also two athletes that were unable to quit drinking and drugging, even though they knew that they would face drug testing. They were two men in peak physical and mental shape continually putting their legacy in jeopardy, by taking a drink or a drug.
De La Hoya, a Mexican American legend, said that he drank before at least two championship fights, including the final bout of his career in 2008 against Manny Pacquiao.
"I was drinking during camp. A week before the fight with Pacquiao, I was having wine, beers, because I said he is not going to beat me," De La Hoya said. "I have the height, the weight, he couldn't beat me."
Chavez, a Mexican champion who retired from boxing in 2005 with a 107-6-2 record, also acknowledged that he drank before fights but he declined to reveal which ones.
Like father, like son.
This isn’t the first time that Chavez Jr. has run into problems with drugs and alcohol. In January, the 26-year-old was arrested for suspicion of DUI. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to probation. Chavez Jr. had previously been suspended after testing positive for a diuretic in his November 2009 win over Troy Rowland. The official result was changed to a no-contest.
The WBC, which is led by Jose Sulaiman, who happens to be Chavez's godfather, said Chavez must enter drug rehab and will not lift the suspension until he completes a stay at a rehab center, which the WBC says it wants documented.
In an apology directed to fans, Chavez Jr. vowed to learn from this past experience and become a stronger person because of it. Yet it’s the actions that people will most likely like to see changed. Addiction is a disease, and it doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do. If the elder Chavez has learned anything from recovery, it’s that you can only help those that seek help. That no matter how one-sided the fight may appear from the outside, Chavez cannot throw in the towel for his son.
Chavez Jr. is surrounded by red flags. His father has admitted he abused drugs, his job has put him on suspension and ordered him to go to treatment, the legal system has punished him, and he has tested positive on several occasions.
If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it must be squirrel.