Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. was suspended nine months and fined $900,000 for testing positive for marijuana after his bout with Sergio Martinez in Sept. 2012, per the Los Angeles Times.
He lost the bout, but the result is really not the issue here.
Marijuana may not be a performance-enhancing drug, but it is a banned substance. There are rules and consequences to everything we do in life, and for an athlete, staying clean should be paramount.
Talk of PEDs and other drugs run rampant in almost every sport, and in boxing, the issue of PEDs has become an even bigger concern.
While Chavez, Jr. may have been trying to take the edge off, as opposed to gaining one, any banned drug usage should be placed in the same category.
Much of what it takes to be a great fighter is about clean effective training and discipline. The use of banned substances shows a lack of one of the aforementioned principles—or both.
In Martinez's case, it is clear his issue is discipline.
He earned my respect even in defeat against Martinez. He showed toughness, grit and determination in a fight against a world class opponent. He may not be better than Martinez, but there aren't a lot of middleweights in the world who could beat Chavez, Jr.
I'm convinced of that now, and that wasn't always the case.
But just as impressive as his fighting heart and punching power were that night, his immaturity and spoiled, privileged mentality is equally as troubling.
Was Chavez, Jr's punishment too harsh?
Perhaps the negative is due to being the son of a legend, but be that as it may, Chavez, Jr. is the only one paying for his missteps.
This isn't the first time he has run afoul of the drug policy. In 2009, he was also suspended for using a banned substance after he defeated Troy Rowland by unanimous decision. Per BoxRec.com, Chavez, Jr. apparently used an illegal diuretic to make weight for that bout.
If you saw the fight with Rowland, you know Chavez, Jr. was not at his best that night. Because of the drug use, and his subsequent hospitalization from exhaustion, it's easy to speculate on how his performance could have been hampered.
Why wasn't Chavez, Jr. ready to make weight against Rowland? Why did he feel the need to smoke marijuana prior to the Martinez fight?
It all boils down to discipline—or a lack thereof. In the end, he's only hurting himself.
Because there is now a trend with him, the hefty fine and suspension is the right punishment. Chavez, Jr. can regain the middleweight title, but he won't attain that goal, or any other within his grasp until he makes better decisions.
To those that think, "aw, it's just a little weed, that was too harsh"; stakes are high for athletes. Because of just a little weed, Chavez, Jr. is now a lot lighter in the wallet.
In addition to that, his reputation has taken a hit—no pun intended.
I don't know about anyone else, but at $900,000, that may be the most expensive joint in the history of mankind. No matter how you look at it, it wasn't worth it.