By: Hans Themistode
When it was announced that former Middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs) would be moving up in weight, it was well expected. He had spent far too long squeezing himself down to the 160 pound limit over the years and was ready for a fresh start.
His introduction to his new weight class is set to take place against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (51-3-1, 33 KOs). Chavez Jr is of course the son of hall of famer Julio Cesar Chavez and was also a champion in his own right from 2011-2012.
Chavez Jr may not have lived up to the hype that has been associated with his father’s name, but he does bring with him an enormous fanbase.
For those who are excited about this contest will need to place that aforementioned excitement on hold as there is currently major doubt surrounding this bout actually taking place.
Just last month on October 24th, Chavez Jr was in Hollywood, California at the Wild Card Gym with hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach. Showing up to the surprise of Chavez Jr was an anti-doping collection agent. His presence was simple, he needed to test Chavez Jr to ensure he was in compliance to the rules of clean boxing.
Although the anti-doping agents came unannounced, it is a criteria that all boxers have grown accustomed to. Unlike most boxers however, Chavez Jr refused to give a sample test and left abruptly from the gym.
The actions of Chavez Jr has become all to familiar in his career as he has twice tested positive for a banned substance. The first failed test was due to a diuretic which is normally used as a masking agent to hide other PEDs in an athlete’s system. It has also been used in the past as a way to help shed weight fast. His second failed test was the result of his usage of marijuana.
Due to refusal to submit to testing, Chavez Jr has been suspended by the Nevada commission on October 30th, and has a hearing that is set to take place on November 18th.
Matchroom boxing knew of Chavez Jr’s suspension but has chosen to allow the contest to take place in Arizona. Their decision is in direct violation of the Muhammad Ali Act which does not allow fighters who are under suspension in one state to compete in another.
Nevada state commission Bob Bennett has also sent out a letter to promoter Eddie Hearn which could result in a forfeit of his promoter license in the state of Nevada.
“Based on Matchroom’s ongoing dealings with Chavez while he has been on suspension,” said Bennett in his letter to Matchroom. “it is apparent that Matchroom has violated Nevada law. Further, given that Chavez’s suspension is based on his refusal to submit to a drug test requested by the NSAC, and thus an anti-doping violation, it is apparent that the event scheduled to occur in Arizona on December 20, 2019, is in violation of the Ali Act. As such, Matchroom is promoting an event that potentially violates federal law.”
“On November 7, 2019, I contacted Shaun Palmer, Matchroom’s Head of Legal and Business Affairs, and informed him of the legal issues with Matchroom’s dealings with Chavez discussed herein. I further informed him of the potential consequences should Matchroom not take corrective measures to comply with Nevada law, including that a violation of Nevada law would be considered by the NSAC when deciding whether to renew Matchroom’s promoter’s license. As of the date of this letter, the matters at issue have not been resolved.”
“Given the above, grounds exist to bring disciplinary action against Matchroom before the NSAC. If Matchroom does not take the necessary action to come into compliance with Nevada law, our office will consider its options.”
Hearn has confirmed that he has received Bennett’s letter but had no comment at this time.
If Chavez Jr’s suspension does in fact hold up, Danny Jacobs would be forced to prepare for a new fighter instead.
Career long journeyman and fan favorite Gabe Rosado (24-12-1, 14 KOs) who has spent his entire career at the Jr Middleweight and Middleweight divisions, is already the scheduled backup just in case the fight does indeed fall through.
Jacobs manager, Keith Connolly, isn’t concerned with the possible switch in opponents. Instead, he is patiently awaiting for his fighter to make a splash in his new division.
“Danny is contracted to fight December 20 on DAZN either way, so he will be focused no matter who the opponent is,” said Connolly. “He is excited to make his debut at 168 and put the entire super middleweight division on notice. We will leave all legal matters and logistics up to our promoter and Danny will remain focused on fighting.”
If Rosado is chosen to step in for Chavez Jr, he will be fully prepared as he was already scheduled to appear on the undercard of this event and has long fancied a contest against the former champion.
As of now, Chavez Jr and Jacobs is still set to take place, but things will become clearer after his November 18th, hearing.