Julio Cesar Chavez Jr's career has likely gone as far as it can, unless he actually makes changes. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has had a rough go of it lately. First, he got dominated by Sergio Martinez, though he did save a little face with a wonderful and spirited 12th round charge that nearly saw him score the comeback win of the year. Then, he failed his post-fight drug test administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which is the second drug test he's failed in the state.
Being a second failure, Chavez Jr's team is keenly aware that a legitimate punishment is going to come down. Most are expecting a one-year suspension, which would be about standard -- some figure it may get reduced to nine months. Anything other than that, and boxing fans should consider themselves green lighted for outrage.
That is, unless the Chavez Jr team can prove that it was a false positive. And boy, are Junior's
enablers -- er, I mean, supporters -- er, I mean ... well, you know what I mean. They're looking for a way out here.
First there's WBC dictator-for-life Jose Sulaiman, who you may recall nearly fainted due to the stress Chavez Jr's 2009 drug test failure brought on. How could this be happening to Baby Boy? "A diuretic? Why, he must have a health problem! Get him to the greatest doctors in the world! Don't worry, fans -- we will save young Julio!"
This time, it's just marijuana, so that's a step in the right direction overall, but Sulaiman is outraged that Nevada would release the information, even though they have every single right to do so, and it's unlikely that Sulaiman would publicly care at all about Nevada releasing such information had it been about Martinez or one of the undercard fighters who failed the drug test.
"Whoever released that note has committed a serious violation of confidentiality. According to anti doping regulations, only the boxer, the Boxing Commission and the World Boxing Council, can be notified about the positive results, in order to give the boxer to have the chance to appoint a representative to be present at the opening of the second test, which has to be made in a special laboratory appointed by the WADA."
Sulaiman quoting rule books is always a laugh, but it gets even better. The WBC boss goes on to give a wishy-washy speech about Chavez Jr accepting guilt if a second test comes back negative, and punishing him, but a glance between the lines tells you all you need to know about that:
"If the second test indicates that the first test was false there is nothing to pursue. But if the second test confirms the rumors, and Chavez accepts his guilt, the WBC will impose a punishment for Chavez Jr, in which he can be subjected to medical rehabilitation and then the WBC would open the door for him to resume his brilliant career."
Sulaiman leads with what he hopes, and what he wants people to believe in and focus on right now: He (Chavez Jr) might not have actually failed the drug test. He might not be due any punishment. Right off, we're searching for a way out -- once again, desperately seeking excuses for a fighter, and showing, without outright saying it, very clear bias.
Then there's the subject of "medical rehabilitation" -- let's just assume that the Nevada test is right and that Chavez Jr tested positive for marijuana. So what? His greatest crime in this instance is being too dumb to avoid it long enough to pass the test, or find some way to cheat the test.
Fernando Beltran, who co-promotes Chavez Jr with Top Rank, has his own story. Cue your tiny violins:
"I think the life of Julio Jr. has always been uphill, a lot of suffering. He has always been affected by insomnia and I heard that someone was preparing a tea for his sleep."
A mysterious "someone" may have made a sleep tea that came back positive for ... marijuana. You heard it there first.
Rehab. Drugged sleep aids for the suffering, uphill-battling Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Again, preying on the natural inclination for people to hear the word "rehab" and attach to it something serious. Something being wrong. Hoping to blame someone else -- hoping that you'll want to blame them, too.
I do not know Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, as most of us do not. I only know the stories, and the stories are as old as his career. He's lazy. He's arrogant. He's spoiled. He's entitled.
For about a year, Top Rank, HBO, Freddie Roach, and the Chavez Jr team convinced some of us that maybe he'd turned some kind of corner. He has not. And the enabling of his choices will continue, because his choices don't really matter. He'll always have a place in the ring. And believe it or not, I've got no problem with that, and most of the time, I'll be glad to watch him fight.
This was his true spotlight fight -- for the first time, really, all eyes in boxing were squarely on Chavez Jr these past two weeks. I don't think anyone involved meant for his deficiencies and faults to receive the greatest illumination. But that's what we got. You can only hide for so long. And until he makes real changes -- if he wants to, that is -- his "brilliant career" will only go so far.