Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.: Positive Marijuana Test Should Not Derail Career

Kevin McRaeFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2012

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. reportedly tested positive for marijuana after losing to Sergio Martinez.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. reportedly tested positive for marijuana after losing to Sergio Martinez.Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Word broke this afternoon that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. tested positive for marijuana after last Saturday's decision loss to middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.

It was Chavez's second positive test for a banned substance in Nevada. His first offense was in 2009 for a diuretic drug, Furosemide, known to aid in weight loss.

The boxing world is abuzz about this development with many already willing to proclaim this the death-knell of a once promising career. These types of knee-jerk reactions are common in an era of 24-hour news cycles and a pervasive desire to see stars fall from grace.

But let's take a step back here for a second. In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor blip on the radar screen. 

There are obviously a wide variety of opinions on the subject of marijuana. There are vociferous advocates for its total legalization, and also for keeping it off the streets. 

All are welcome to their opinions on that aspect of the story, and the debate that inevitably follows. But that's a bigger-picture angle. As a pure sports story, this is barely worth mentioning.

Drug use is pervasive in all sports. And no, athletes should not be held to different standards than the general population. But that is exactly what happens. It's not fair, but it's reality.

Major League Baseball watched with eyes wide open as PEDs infiltrated and ultimately took over the sport in the wake of the 1994 strike. Owners paid lip service to the problem while laughing their way to the bank with each 450-foot home run.

Boxing itself has been hit with a series of positive test for steroids and other PEDs in the past year, with world-champion fighters such as Andre Berto, Lamont Peterson and Antonio Tarver getting caught in the snare.

In the context of an all-action sport like boxing, where the objective is to cause injury to your opponent, the use of PEDs is far more offensive to the mind than marijuana usage.

Was Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. stupid? Sure he was. Was what he did sanctioned by the rules? No, and he will pay for it. Will he be suspended for the infraction? Most certainly.

But should it ruin his career? Absolutely not. He will get suspended. He will take a minor hit in the public eye, and he will return to the ring sometime next year. 

And if he wins, nobody will remember this ever happened.

There will be those who will inevitably now ask the question if whether his drug use was the reason behind his lackluster performance on Saturday night. 

To do so diminishes the fact that Sergio Martinez put on a masterpiece and executed his strategy perfectly to neutralize Chavez Jr.'s strengths with movement and counterpunching.

And that's not a leap people should make so readily.