Advertisement
Advertisement

Chavez-Lee/Sun Bowl Controversy Rages On in El Paso

By Jim Vertuno, Juan Carlos Llorca

Angry El Paso leaders on Wednesday accused the University of Texas system chancellor of fostering a "climate of fear" by canceling a high-profile boxing event in a border city fighting to overcome assumptions it has been overrun by spillover violence from the drug war in Mexico.

City leaders were stunned when UT system Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa said Tuesday the University of Texas-El Paso's Sun Bowl stadium could not host a June 16 fight between WBC world middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., of Mexico and Andy Lee of Ireland. The UT system said Cigarroa made the decision based on a "higher than normal" risk assessment but released no details.

The move prompted a wave of angry responses from El Paso officials who insist their city is safe. Despite ranking among the safest cities in the nation in terms of violent crime, El Paso officials have long complained the city gets falsely portrayed as a war zone.

"It stems from this general climate of fear being created by some ... that the border is unsafe. This is the latest example of the kind of decisions that are going to do incalculable harm to border communities," said state Sen. Jose Rodriguez, an El Paso Democrat.

Rodriguez and others demanded to know the details behind Cigarroa's decision.

El Paso City Manager Joyce Wilson and El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen insisted Cigarroa show them a risk assessment report for the fight, and any others conducted for major events that have been held on system property for the last five years.

Last weekend, UTEP's Don Haskins Center basketball arena hosted a Showtime boxing card, and the Frank Erwin Center at the University of Texas in Austin is hosting ESPN's Friday Night Fights this week.

The 51,500-seat Sun Bowl is home to the UTEP Miners football team and the annual Sun Bowl game. It also hosted a major fight in 1998 when more than 40,000 watched Oscar De La Hoya.

The UT system said "this decision should not be generalized to other events at UTEP or other UT institution facilities. If there was an elevated risk determination associated with any event hosted by the other 14 UT institutions, the same decision would have been made."

A UT system spokesman said he could not discuss the El Paso fight risk assessment and that Cigarroa was not immediately available for comment.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Katherine Cessinger said DPS was not involved in developing the risk assessment. Ramiro Cordero, a spokesman for the U.S. Border Patrol, said the agency has received no specific threats or intelligence indicating violence in El Paso related to the fight.

All of the state lawmakers who represent El Paso sent a letter to Cigarroa calling the decision "ill-informed, baseless and destructive" and urging him to reconsider.

Rodriguez said he spoke with Cigarroa on Tuesday and pressed him for details on the risk assessment, including whether law enforcement intelligence suggested the fight would be a dangerous event for the university and the city. Rodriguez said Cigarroa told him he had nothing specific.

"It is very difficult for me to accept," Rodriguez said, noting that former President Bill Clinton visited El Paso on Tuesday without incident. "You just don't make decisions based on 'higher than normal' risk without details."

Cigarroa informed UTEP officials of his decision one hour before a news conference to promote the fight. Bob Arum, president of boxing promotions company Top Rank, said he's ready to move the fight to San Antonio or Houston but promised El Paso officials to wait another day to see if they can't get Cigarroa to change his mind.

El Paso is a natural place to host a fight with a popular Mexican fighter like Chavez, Jr., Arum said.

"It's a hot boxing town," Arum said. "I'm totally befuddled. If there is a high security problem, tell us what it is."

Arum said fights in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand and Mandalay casino resorts require spectators to go through metal detectors.

Sending 50,000 people at the Sun Bowl through metal detectors would be inconvenient and expensive, but "it's doable," Arum said.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by SelectOne on 04-26-2012

[QUOTE=pelonxsoldier28;12044984]Wow!!!!! What violence or danger are they talking about? I've been stationed here in El Paso at Ft Bliss since 2005. It's so safe here it's boring! You can leave your front door open all night and not worry. It's…

Comment by flint on 04-26-2012

how the heck has america come to this.

Comment by pelonxsoldier28 on 04-26-2012

Wow!!!!! What violence or danger are they talking about? I've been stationed here in El Paso at Ft Bliss since 2005. It's so safe here it's boring! You can leave your front door open all night and not worry. It's…

Comment by Hitman932 on 04-26-2012

I agree the decision is ridiculous, but I don't mind. If the fight is moved to San Antonio I will go to it, was not going to make the drive to El Paso.

Comment by Russian Crushin on 04-25-2012

Rumor is the real reason is because the Sun Bowl cannot hold the enough fans that are expected to see the legend live

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (6)
Top Headlines Povetkin Holds Meeting With WBC: Awaits Decision on Wilder Golovkin, Eubank Jr. Should Sign By This Weekend, Says Hearn SHO's Espinoza: Canelo-GGG in "Fall 2017" Was To Stop Bleeding Photos: Mario Barrios Putting in Work For World Title Eliminator Roman Gonzalez Focused on Cuadras Next, For The Right Price Parker's Promoter: Anthony Joshua Will Eat The Jab All Night! Cecilia Braekhus Returns, Tops First Card in Norway Since 1980 Manuel Avila Continues Unbeaten Run at Cache Creek Casino Smith's Trainer: We Can Beat Canelo, But Will The Judges Agree? News: Boxeo Telemundo Update; Skeete-Lepelley; Jay Harris Thurman Might Make Mandatory Defense Against Avanesyan Next Jonathan Guzman Ready For Wake Title Shot Rabchenko Handed IBF Eliminator On Santa Cruz-Frampton Card Hurd Wants Foes Like Bundrage, Ishe Smith For Upcoming Fights DiBella: Wilder vs. Joshua is Inevitable in Future, But Not Now Canelo Alvarez vs. Liam Smith is NOT a Bad Fight, Explains Hearn Haye: Bellew Fight Must Be at Heavyweight, He Must Add Weight Anthony Mundine Back in Talks For Danny Green Rematch Knockout CP Freshmart Decisions Rojas In A Stinker Ganigan Lopez vs. Jonathan Taconing Will Be a War, Says WBC Joseph Parker Ready To Take November Date For Anthony Joshua Amir Imam, Guillermo Jones Return on Pittsburgh Card Arum: After Ramirez Beats Golovkin, He Will Be a Big PPV Star! Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia: The Fight, Right Now Photos: Mayweather Takes Part in BET Celebrity Basketball Game Ramirez's Adviser: Golovkin One-Dimensional, He's No '85 Bears! Mike Tyson Will Back Trump at Republican National Convention Edner Cherry Snags Debatable Decision Over Lydell Rhodes Antonio Margarito vs. Ramon Alvarez Pushed Back To August 13 Photos: Jose Benavidez Putting in Work For Francisco Santana Rolando Garza Inks Promotional With Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Gilberto Ramirez: Canelo Has No Pride, His Actions Disappointing Denis Lebedev Backs Glowacki To Retain, Beat Oleksandr Usyk Anthony Joshua Must Face Joseph Parker By January 9, Says IBF Jarico O'Quinn Inks Promotional With Salita Promotions Photos: Gilberto Ramirez Continues Hard Grind For First Defense Malignaggi-Bracero, Farmer-Redkach, Harrison-Rabchenko Set Andre Ward vs. Alexander Brand Officially Revealed By Roc Nation Jessie Magdaleno Leaves Joel Diaz, Jumps To Manuel Robles David Benavidez Targets Big Names, Champions at 168-Pounds
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement