8:21 PM ET
Dan RafaelESPN Senior Writer
- 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism
- ESPN.com boxing writer since 2005
- Five years at USA Today
LAS VEGAS — The Nevada State Athletic Commission extended the suspension of former middleweight world titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at its monthly meeting Wednesday, potentially putting the state at odds with the Arizona commission if it allows Chavez to fight next month, which appears to be the case.
Chavez is due to face former middleweight world titlist Daniel Jacobs in a 12-round super middleweight fight on Dec. 20 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix. However, per the federal Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, if a fighter is suspended in one state, it would be against the law for another state to allow him to fight.
Chavez and Jacobs appeared along with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Heard at a news conference last week in Los Angeles, where the fight was officially announced even though Chavez was on temporary suspension in Nevada. On Wednesday, the suspension was extended indefinitely pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing Chavez will be required to appear at before the Nevada commission at its next meeting on Dec. 18, although his team could ask for a continuance.
“The commission voted unanimously to suspend Julio Chavez Jr. pending disciplinary action for refusing to submit to an out-of-competition drug test,” Bob Bennett, the executive director of the commission, told ESPN.
Hearn initially planned to put Jacobs-Chavez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Dec. 20 and put the date on hold with the commission. At that point, the commission, per its rules, elected to activate its enhanced drug-testing protocol with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association handling the collection. The commission decided to use enhanced drug testing in part because of Chavez’s past in Nevada, where he has twice failed drug tests for banned substances.
When a VADA tester showed up at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California, where Chavez (51-3-1, 33 KOs), 33, of Mexico, was training, he declined to submit to the test. Under World Anti-Doping Association rules, refusal to submit to a test can result in the same penalty as failing a test.
With Chavez suspended in Nevada, Hearn moved the fight to Phoenix and has put his license to promote future fights in Nevada at risk because the commission could suspend his license for taking a fight with a suspended boxer to another state.
VADA has also refused to oversee drug testing for the fight, reasoning that it would not be appropriate to do so for a boxer under suspension. Instead, Hearn said the Drug Free Sport organization, with no notable experience in boxing, would handle the testing for the bout.
If the Arizona Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts Commission — which has not yet formally licensed Chavez, according to sources, though Hearn previously told ESPN he was licensed — ultimately declines to allow the fight, Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs), 32, of Brooklyn, New York, would fight Gabriel Rosado (24-12-1, 14 KOs), 33, of Philadelphia. Rosado is scheduled to fight on the undercard but has also signed to serve as a standby to face Jacobs instead in the event Chavez is unable to fight.
Chavez, the son of the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., has fought just once since being shut out by Canelo Alvarez in May 2017, scoring a knockout win over Evert Bravo in August.