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Saturday, June 29, 2013
NSAC reduces Chavez fine

By Dan Rafael

Remember that marijuana joint that cost Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. $900,000? The price has been reduced to $100,000.

On a 4-0 vote, the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Friday lowered the massive fine it handed out to Chavez after he tested positive for marijuana following his unanimous decision loss to middleweight champion Sergio Martinez on Sept. 15 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Chavez's purse for the fight was $3 million and he was severely punished by the commission as a two-time offender of its policy on banned substances. In 2009, former middleweight titlist Chavez tested positive for a diuretic following a fight in Las Vegas and was suspended and fined and the result of the bout was changed to a no decision.

For the positive marijuana test, Chavez was also suspended for nine months, a punishment he has already served.

While Chavez was willing to serve the suspension, he and his team viewed the fine as excessive and his lawyers, Don Campbell and Colby Williams, were preparing a lawsuit against the commission over the size of the fine, believing that it violated the United States constitution's eighth amendment, which bars excessive fines.

They had been in negotiations with the commission to reduce the amount of the fine, which the commission was willing to do, especially after a May 11 decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency to revise its policy on marijuana use which increased the threshold for what constitutes a positive test. Under the new rules, Chavez would not have tested positive.

By settling his issues with the Nevada commission, Chavez, 27, of Mexico, who did not attend the hearing, is eligible to again fight anywhere in the United States, although before he can fight in Nevada again commission executive director Keith Kizer said he would have to provide a clean urine sample.

Top Rank, Chavez's promoter, is arranging his return fight against Brian Vera for Sept. 7 in the main event of an HBO broadcast from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. But although Chavez is cleared to get a boxing license in the U.S., he still needs to obtain a visa, which has been problematic.

In another decision made at Friday's commission meeting, the panel voted 4-0 to suspend middleweight prospect J'Leon Love of Detroit for six months and fine him $10,000 of his $100,000 purse for a positive drug test. He must also submit a clean urine test before he can fight in Nevada again.

Love, who badly struggled to make the 160-pound weight limit, tested positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, which is often used to assist in weight loss, following his controversial 10-round decision win against Gabriel Rosado on May 4 on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The commission also overturned the result of the fight, which is now a no contest. That reverts the fighters' records to what they were before the bout took place, making Love 15-0 with 8 knockouts and Rosado, 27, of Philadelphia, 21-6 with 13 KOs.

Love's positive test was an embarrassment to Mayweather, who is also his promoter, because of Mayweather's strong stance on random drug testing.

But Love came clean with the commission, admitting that he took a diuretic pill, which he said was given to him by strength and conditioning coach Bob Ware, the day before the weigh-in. Love, who was emotional in his testimony, told the commission that he had missed two weeks of training before the fight because his brother had been murdered and was having trouble making weight. He asked the commission for leniency saying he is trying to care for his brother's nine children.

"I'm the heart of my family," Love told the commission. "If I fall apart, they fall apart."

The commission, which could have revoked his license and fined him his full purse, was sympathetic and gave him a relatively light punishment.

With the six-month suspension not over until Nov. 5, it means Love can't fight on the high-profile Sept. 14 Mayweather-Saul "Canelo" Alvarez undercard at the MGM Grand. Love was likely to be on that card had he not been suspended.