It came to light Wednesday that middleweight boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. failed a post-fight drug test (per RingTV.com) after his one-sided loss to Sergio Martinez last Saturday, and his drug use may be the cause of the less-than-stellar showing by Chavez Jr.
Chavez Jr. tested positive for marijuana in his drug test, and a possible punishment is taking away the $3 million purse Chavez Jr. earned in the middleweight title showdown.
Before the fight even took place this past Saturday, the popular HBO documentary series "24/7", showed Chavez Jr. (46-1-1, 32 KOs) displaying unorthodox and somewhat lazy training methods.
Chavez Jr.'s methods included training late night into the early morning hours instead of training in the day or early evening.
Then we saw Chavez Jr. not wanting to go to the Top Rank gym to train with legendary trainer Freddie Roach, instead opting to stay at his rented Las Vegas house to train.
Finally, the most lethargic approach of them all, some nights he wouldn't even train at all, saying he needed a day off.
This is in contrast to other top-tier fighters who will not miss a single day during training camp. Some fighters even seclude themselves from their families during training camp to better focus on the fight at hand.
According to the CDC, marijuana effects mental functions including impairment of fine motor skills and also short-term memory impairment and slowness of learning.
These side effects of marijuana use could have played a part in Chavez Jr.'s uninspired effort this past Saturday.
Muscle memory is a huge part of a boxer's training, as the more they run through various punching drills, the more second nature it becomes for a fighter, allowing him to land crisp combinations without any real thought going into them.
Since marijuana can effect short-term memory, if he was using marijuana during training, some of the muscle memory that took place during his training camp leading up to the Martinez fight could have been affected.
This could have made Chavez Jr. more comfortable in the ring, in turn hurting his confidence and fight plan.
Chavez Jr. seemed slower than usual and didn't seem to have any motivation to mount any real offensive attack until his final-round flurry that almost knocked out Martinez.
Looking as bad during the post-fight press conference than he has at any in his 48-fight career, Chavez Jr.'s battered and bruised face could be result of his motor skills being affected by his drug use, resulting in slower reaction time when Martinez threw punches his way.
As the Nevada State Athletic Committee waits for the full drug test results to come in order to hand down a punishment to Chavez Jr., they should consider the embarrassing showing and the possibility that his drug use caused such a lethargic showing against Martinez.
A stiff fine and a six-month-to-year ban from boxing would be a suitable punishment, as taking his entire $3 million purse away would be going overboard in this instance.