WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr said he smoked weed because he was “having a tough time with sparring partners and (his) foot was hurting” in advance of his unanimous-decision loss to RING champion Sergio Martinez last Sept. 15 in Las Vegas, after which the Mexican star failed his drug test.
Chavez was suspended for nine months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and fined $900,000, an amount which was later reduced to $100,000.
“If I told you why I did it, I’d be lying to you,” said Chavez, during an exclusive interview with Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times.
“I guess the best way to explain it is that I was having a tough time with my sparring partners and my foot was hurting. I felt like I was working too hard and needed to relax. I used something illegal, it was wrong and I got penalized.”
Chavez (46-1-1, 32 knockouts), who will take on Bryan Vera in a super middleweight bout in Carson, Calif., on Sept. 28, as part of an HBO-televised tripleheader, scored a 12th-round knockdown after having been more or less dominated by Martinez.
“I was very upset and angry with myself,” said Chavez. “I didn’t come close to doing what I wanted to do in that fight. I guess if you go through a difficult time, you have to find a reason to learn from it.”
The Sept. 28 broadcast will begin with former heavyweight titleholder David Haye in an all-English clash with unbeaten 6-foot-9 contender Tyson Fury in Manchester, England, before switching to a defense by RING and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson against Tavoris Cloud in Montreal.
The final matchup will be Chavez against Vera (23-6, 14 KOs), who has won four straight fights, including the past two by knockout.
Haye (26-2, 24 knockouts) was last in the ring for a fifth-round knockout of Dereck Chisora in July, and Fury (21-0, 15 KOs) rose from a second-round knockdown to stop Steve Cunningham in the seventh round in April.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com