By Ivan G. Goldman
Did Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. really smoke a $900,000 joint? Must have been some high. I suppose we can all be thankful to the crime-fighters at the Nevada commission who brought Junior to justice and punished him with a $900,000 fine and a nine-month suspension for testing positive for marijuana, thereby protecting all of us from evil. Yes, I’m being sarcastic.
Actually, I was willing to forget about this particular piece of official stupidity because what the heck, no one went to jail, Chavez is a rich kid anyway, and also it was his second offense. In November 2009 he tested positive for Furosemide — a diuretic typically used to help cut weight, but it can also be used as a masking agent for steroids. That was after he decisioned Troy Rowland. It was later ruled a no contest.
But this week those same daffy commissioners who practically put Chavez in front of a firing squad for a marijuana offense fined lightweight Michael Bey only $1,000 for fighting with the kind of rocket-fueled testosterone level that could turn a pencil neck into the Incredible Hulk. Bey, after kayoing his opponent Robert Rodriguez February 2 in Las Vegas, was found to have chemically-enhanced, super-masculinized blood that exceeded the testosterone limit by a multiple of five.
Dudes, when you’re messing with PEDs — as Bey, 18-0-1 (9 KOs), most assuredly was — you can kill a guy. When you smoke grass it slows down your motor functions and makes you docile. In other words, its effects are precisely the opposite of performance-enhancing drugs.
Chavez admitted his offense and threw himself at the mercy of the commission. “I feel very bad about the situation,” he said. “I know I committed a big error, a mistake.” Bey, on the other hand, claimed he was duped by doctors. He argued that he-d been diagnosed with a low testosterone level before his fight, and evidently his physician tried to get it back up to normal. Others have tried that same excuse. Trouble is, low testosterone is a common result when people are messing with PEDs. I’m no chemist, but that’s the way it works. Fooling with those performance-enhancing chemicals is dangerous to the user and the opponent.
Bey’s third-round kayo over Rodriguez was changed to a no contest. He could have received as much as a one-year suspension and a 30 percent fine of his $8,000 purse.
When you’re looking to make rules — or laws — it’s always a good idea to figure out first if there actually was a victim. Chavez broke the rules, but there was no victim. Bey broke the rules, and there was.
Right now the U.S. is in flux on marijuana. It’s been made legal in Colorado and Washington for recreational use and in plenty of other states for medical use. In other locales, possession of small amounts of weed is treated pretty much like a parking ticket.
Meanwhile, Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow, a mother of four, was released from an Oklahoma prison in December after doing two years for selling $30 worth of marijuana to a police informant. A grandmother had to take care of Spottedcrow’s children while their mother served her sentence. I try to stick to boxing on this site, but drug policy is one of those areas of our society where the fight business can’t be separated from what’s going on in the world outside the ring.
Mason Tvert, representing an outfit called the Marijuana Policy Project, says the Nevada commission’s weed policy is “driving athletes to drink.” He might have a point. What Nevada did to Chavez — especially in light of what it didn’t do to Bey — is unjust. Chavez says he will sue to overturn the commissioners’ action. Most people who say they’re going to sue never do, but we’re talking about a lot of money, so maybe he will.
Earlier Chavez was fined $20,000 by the WBC for the same 2012 test result. Yet the WBC, as far as I can see, has no legal right to fine anybody over anything and have it stand up in court. It’s like somebody coming up to you on the street and saying they’re fining you $20,000 for wearing a baseball cap with its brim pointed in the wrong direction while being over the age of 25. It’s just plain wrong. You shouldn’t have to pay more than $10,000 for a first baseball cap offense.
Ivan G. Goldman’s critically acclaimed novel Isaac: A Modern Fable came out in April 2012 from Permanent Press. Information HERE