How Long Should Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Be Banned for Positive Drug Test?

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2012

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (left) faces a possible lengthy suspension.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (left) faces a possible lengthy suspension.Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

In addition to losing a one-sided decision to Sergio Martinez in Las Vegas Sept. 15, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. may have lost a lot more.

He tested positive for marijuana in a post-fight urinalysis, and he is subject to a suspension of up to one year, according to

The Nevada State Athletic Commission can also fine him the full value of the $3 million purse he is scheduled to receive.

Chavez Jr. will have a chance to make an explanation to the commission before the punishment is meted out.

It seems quite likely that a full one-year suspension is in order. This is not the first time he has been caught with drugs in his system. He tested positive for a banned diuretic in 2009 following his victory over Troy Rowlands. He received a seven-month suspension following that test and the result of the fight was changed from a victory to a no-decision.

In addition to that suspension, Chavez Jr. was arrested in January for drunk driving.

Prior to the fight, Chavez Jr. missed several of his training sessions. HBO's 24-7 captured Chavez Jr. as he prepared for the fight, and when he missed one of those sessions, veteran trainer Freddie Roach was angered by his fighter's decision to blow off training.

While Chavez Jr. apologized to Roach and the two appeared to be on good terms, it was obvious that Chavez Jr. was not at his best, and he appeared distracted.

The athletic commission has little choice but to hit the fighter with a heavy suspension. Not only does he have the previous mark on his record for using the diuretic, his willingness to prepare for a fight while using a recreational drug can't be tolerated.

He is putting himself at risk in a sport where he could end up with terrible injuries for not going into the ring in the best shape possible. If his reactions were slowed even a little bit against a world-class fighter like Martinez, he is putting himself at greater risk.

Chavez Jr. appeared sluggish for the majority of the fight.

He rallied in the final round and almost secured a 12th-round knockout, but he was not sharp before that (source: L.A. Times).

Promoter Bob Arum told the Los Angeles Times that Chavez Jr. was having trouble sleeping and used the marijuana as a therapeutic remedy for his insomnia.

While that seems like a reasonable explanation, it hardly seems likely that the commission will go along with it as a plea for leniency. The commission needs to stay strong and make sure Chavez Jr. understands that his use of marijuana is not acceptable in a self-defense sport.

He needs to be suspended for a full year so the lesson can sink in.