Hearn: Daniel Jacobs vs. Julio Chavez Jr. STILL on for Dec.20 in Arizona
By Barry Holbrook: Promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed on Thursday that the Daniel Jacobs vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight WILL go ahead for December 20 despite Nevada Commission extending Chavez Jr’s suspension.
The Arizona Commission will hold a hearing on December 18 to make the final decision whether the Jacobs vs. Chavez Jr. fight can go ahead. That’s two days before the fight on December 20.
Hearn says that VADA won’t be the drug testing agency that will be doing the testing for the fight, since they chose not to. But Hearn found testing agency, ‘Drug Free Sport, and they’ve been approved by the Arizona Commission to test for the fight. This is the same agency that tests for the NBA and NFL, according to Hearn.
On Wednesday, the Nevada Commission extended the 33-year-old former WBC middleweight champion Chavez’s suspension. Hearn says that he received an email from Bob Bennett from the Nevada Commission, saying to him that he might not extend his license to promote in that state when it expires next year.
Hearn says he told them to do what they have to do. In other words, Hearn isn’t too bothered if Nevada chooses not to let him promote his shows in that state. There other states like California, New York, Arizona, etc.
Former middleweight champion Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs) will be facing Chavez Jr. (51-3-1, 33 KOs) on December 20 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.
VADA attempted to test Chavez Jr.
“This is what happened. We were looking to make Chavez against Danny Jacobs,” said Hearn to IFL TV. “We were looking at three fights. Nevada, Arizona and Texas. Our office spoke to the Nevada Commission saying we’d like to request a date of December 20th, so we can hold that for the Commission. ‘Who is it?’ It looks like it’s going to be Jacobs against Chavez.
“Chavez hadn’t signed an agreement, and Chavez hadn’t enrolled in VADA, and we were just finalizing everything with it’s team. VADA turned up to test him, and he said, ‘I’m not enrolled in VADA. I haven’t signed the contract.’ They said, ‘You’re fighting him in Vegas,’ and he said, ‘I’m not. I haven’t signed anything, and I’m not enrolled in VADA.’ So then all of a sudden, he said, ‘I’m not doing the test.’
“So effectively, he missed a test. He probably should have just tested, but he’s a paranoid guy, and he’s had plenty of problems. So he said, ‘I haven’t signed up for anything, so go away.’ They also turned up to test Danny Jacobs in Atlanta. He was in New York. So the whole thing was a bit of a mess to be honest with you. It was all a bit strange,’ said Hearn.
Chavez Jr. made a mistake skipping test
Skipping the test was clearly the wrong thing for Chavez Jr. to do, as it made him look like he had something to hide. Hearn wishes Chavez Jr. had taken it, because if he had passed it, they would be fighting in Vegas on December 20. Of course, if Chavez Jr. had something to hide, then that’s another thing. This meant Chavez Jr. wouldn’t be licensed to fight in Nevada.
According to Dan Rafael, the federal Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act says it’s against the law for fighters to compete in other states if they’re suspended.
Hearn: We have the right to apply to other Commissions
“So Nevada turned around and said, ‘We’re going to suspend you.’ He doesn’t have a license, and he’s not American,” said Hearn about Chavez Jr. “And so I’m not sure how they suspend him. So that was their decision. It was Bob Bennett, which we respect. We then spoke to the ABC, and said, ‘What do we do in this situation?
“We have the right presumably to apply to other commissions to see if they will license the fight. ‘Yes, you can. So we went to the sites we’re in negotiations with in Texas, and in Arizona. The answer is, ‘Yes, no problem…The Arizona Commission said, ‘No problem at all, as long as he starts testing straightaway. He signed up on the day as soon as we told him for VADA testing, and so did Danny Jacobs.
“I sent the forms in to Margaret Goodman, and she said, ‘No, we’re not going to test him, because he’s suspended in Nevada, and I don’t want to upset him. I was very upset with them. They’re an independent testing commission.
“My answer to them is, ‘Are you going to test Jarrell Miller?’ because that really upset me. The answer is, ‘Yes, they’re already doing it.’ So this is a guy that missed a test, and you’re testing all these other random people, but you don’t want to upset anyone,” said Hearn.
Matchroom found another testing agency
Hearn has already found another testing agency to test Chavez Jr. and Jacobs for their fight. The Arizona Commission gave Hearn approval to stage the Jacobs-Chavez Jr. fight in their state, but they want Chavez Jr to be tested straightaway. Hearn has replaced VADA with ‘Drug Free Sport’ as the testing agency. So it’s now a matter whether the Arizona Commission will decide in his favor in their meeting on December 18.
If what Rafael says about Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act making it unlawful for a suspended fighter to compete in another state, then Hearn and Chavez Jr. could have a problem. Hearn will need a good backup opponent. Gabriel Rosado is a name has been mentioned.
Hearn sounding confident
“So we went back to Arizona, and explained the problem, and they said, ‘How about using Drug Free Sport,’ who test for the NBA, and they test for the NFL, and test for a lot bigger,” said Hearn. “To be honest with you, as long as the Commission is happy with the testing procedure, our job is kind of done. It’s a very reputable agency. That’s who we signed up with. Phoenix turned around and said, ‘No problem.’ Sorry, Arizona.
“They went on sale, and we sold a huge amount of tickets. Yesterday, they had a hearing, but they actually didn’t decide anything. They just postponed it until December the 18th, and that’s two days before the fight. Again, this is kind of a new market, and new territory for me. I spoke to the Arizona commission. They said, ‘Nothing changes, no problem.’
“The fight goes ahead. I’m hoping to speak to Bob Bennett. Bob Bennett wrote to me, and said, ‘We’re not happy. We may not extend your license next year when it’s due. I said, ‘You do what you’re going to do. If you don’t want me to promote a show in Las Vegas, so be it.’ As far as I’m concerned, we followed protocol, and the fight takes place and that’s it,” said Hearn.
Nevada not extending Hearn’s license would be a mistake
It’s going to come down to what the Arizona Commission decides on December 18 in determining whether the Jacobs-Chavez Jr. fight takes place on December 20. Hearn thinks it’s only about the Commission being happy with the testing being done.
If Nevada Commission is serious about potentially not extending Hearn’s license to promote in their state, they would be shooting themselves in the foot. Hearn’s stable of fighters is growing, and Nevada would be shut-out from having a lot of great fights take place in their state if they fail to extend Hearn’s license. Making this move based on the Chavez Jr. incident might be the wisest move by the Nevada Commission.
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