Bob Arum: Chavez did nothing wrong by smoking pot weeks before Martinez fight

Longtime promoter Bob Arum, 81, has made no bones about being an advocate for marijuana. He was in rare form Tuesday when he played host to a conference call for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who Saturday will take on Bryan Vera in the super middleweight main event at StubHub Center in Carson (on HBO).

Chavez tested positive for marijuana after his middleweight title fight against Sergio Martinez (who defeated Chavez) on Sept. 15, 2012, at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Chavez was initially fined $900,000 and suspended nine months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which later reduced the fine to $100,000.

During the conference call, a reporter asked Chavez to talk about the marijuana consumption. After Chavez said things like, “Everyone makes mistakes,” and, “We are all human,” Arum chimed in, and strongly.

“I want to go on record as saying there is nothing wrong with smoking pot,” Arum said. “Any suspension for an athlete having smoked marijuana other than when he was actually performing in the ring, is unconscionable. Even WADA has said the same thing.

“Let’s be real about it. There is nothing wrong with pot and pot can actually be beneficial. … I don’t think he did anything wrong by smoking pot weeks before the fight.”

WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, recently raised the levels of marijuana an athlete would have to have in his/her system before being in violation. The new levels needed for a dirty test were raised from 15 nanograms per milliliter to 150. That means an athlete would have to smoke pot not long before an event in order to get nabbed.

In a story published in July on a website named Medical Daily, Allen St. Pierre – executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – said that with the new standard, an athlete would have to be a “pretty dedicated cannabis consumer.” Basically, what WADA is saying, out of competition use of marijuana is no longer a concern.

Remaining tickets for Saturday’s card are priced at $20, $50, $100 and $200. They can be purchased online at or by calling 888-604-8777

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