Monday, March 1, 2010 | 5:03 p.m.
Undefeated Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. appeared before the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday to plead for its leniency after testing positive for a diuretic following a unanimous-decision win Nov. 14 over Troy Rowland.
The NSAC eventually complied, suspending Chavez for just seven months — the shortest suspension ever for that type of infraction.
"Yes," answered Chavez, when asked if he was happy with the commission's decision. "I would love it, of course, as a fighter, if it was not even a one-month suspension. But I know it was difficult."
Chavez failed the NSAC post-fight drug test Nov. 14, after testing positive for Furosemide, a diuretic that can be used by fighters to help cut weight or possibly mask steroid use.
Chavez has never tested positive for steroids nor been suspended before in his professional career.
Suspensions for diuretic infractions generally last seven to eight months, but the commission felt Chavez's circumstances warranted special consideration.
Eight days before fighting on the undercard of the welterweight championship fight between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Chavez was hospitalized when he became dizzy during a training session.
According to Chavez, he remained hospitalized for 12 hours, during which the medical staff overseeing him pumped glucose and vitamins into his body.
After being released from the hospital, Chavez said he was worried about making the 160-pound weight limit because of the fluids he had received in the hospital and consulted his personal doctor who prescribed him the illegal drug.
Chavez admitted to taking the diuretic once while in the hospital and again the day before the weigh-in, but said he was unaware the drug was illegal.
"I did everything the doctor told me to do," Chavez said. "I had complete trust in my doctor and in what he was giving me. I would take a lot of stuff from him without asking because I had 100 percent trust in him."
While the drug may have helped Chavez make weight the day before the fight, he said it left him feeling sluggish and dehydrated the week of the event.
The 24-year-old fighter went on to admit he had not personally read the medical questionnaire the NSAC requires all participants to read and sign prior to competing in an event.
After arriving late to the weigh-in the day before the fight and still feeling the effects of cutting three final pounds that morning, Chavez said he relied on members of his team to fill out the form, which specifically asked if he had taken any banned substances.
Chavez added he takes full responsibility for his actions and regrets both mistakes.
"I would like to say that I didn't want to hurt anybody," Chavez told the commission. "Second, it was very embarrassing to me when my test came back positive. I have a clean image, and I also have a family name with a clean image in the sport.
"I would never try to take advantage of the participant in front of me. Historically, I've never done anything wrong, but of course I understand the doubt in me because I committed these mistakes."
While several members of the NSAC said they were 'moved' by Chavez's honesty at the meeting, Deputy Attorney General Chris Eccles encouraged the commission to penalize the fighter to the same extent it has in similar cases in the past.
During the deliberations, Eccles made it a point to clarify Chavez understood the purpose of taking the drug by asking him directly if he had done so to make the necessary weight to compete Nov. 14 — to which the fighter responded, 'Yes."
"This illustrates why the use of a diuretic is prohibited," Eccles said. "Chavez's weight was on a roller coaster. Interestingly, he testified he felt overly dehydrated and that he thinks it hurt him.
"I think there is substantial evidence that he took this. He knew the purpose of taking it, and it had the effect of helping him make weight. Based on that, I don't see any reason to deviate from similar remedies ordered in other cases."
In addition to the seven-month suspension, Chavez was fined 10 percent of the $100,000 purse he earned Nov. 14 and the bout was changed to a no-decision.
Promoter Fernando Beltran said Chavez's next fight likely would be in June when the suspension expires, possibly in Las Vegas. A potential opponent mentioned was John Duddy, who is scheduled to fight March 13 in Arlington, Texas.