Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

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 Julian Williams: Being Underrated and Overlooked Ends Saturday Chocolatito's Manager Outlines The Options For 2017 Photos: Joseph Parker vs. Andy Ruiz Weigh-In - Ready For War Photos: Cuellar vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Williams - Final Presser Marco Huck vs. Noel Gevor Eliminator Order By The IBF Briggs Warns Hearn: Keep Joshua Away From Me and He'll Rule! Misha Aloian of Russia Loses Olympic Silver After Failed PED Test Photos: Chavez Jr. and Britsch - Go Face To Face at Final Presser Crawford: Me and Molina Can Box It Out, Bang It Out Or Whatever British Board Admits Decision on Chisora Did Not Come Easy Joseph Parker Signs Up With VADA, Will Be Testing in Ruiz Bout Photos: Crawford vs. Molina - Face To Face at Final Presser Video: Hearn Talks Crazy Week - Shannon Briggs Crashes Interview! Whyte vs. Chisora is STILL ON - But No British Title! Andy Ruiz: Everyone's Underestimating Me, But I'm In Great Shape Jose Pedraza: Gervonta Davis Will Leave Ring With First Career Loss Photos: Anthony Joshua, Eric Molina - Face To Face at Final Presser Lee Haskins Suffers Leg Injury, Out Of Dec 31 IBF Defence Cueller vs. Mares Undercard - Facebook Stream By Showtime Photos: Erik Skoglund, Sven Fornling, Mikaela Lauren on Weight Molina Not Worried About Judging in Crawford's Hometown Stiverne Says Goal is 'Fake Champion' Wilder, Tabs Parker To Win BBBofC To Hold Meeting, Discuss Whyte-Chisora Altercation Roach: Cuellar Said He Was Never Learning Anything At Garcia's Gym Chavez's Trainer: If Julio is Well Prepared - He Beats Golovkin! Frank Warren Gives Thoughts on Billy Joe Saunders' Poor Form Molina Reacts To David Haye's Prediction: He is Nothing in America! Jeff Horn, Lenny Zappavigna Lead Aussie Charge This Weekend Enrico Koelling vs. Ryno Liebenberg Rematch on February 4 Joshua-Molina: Conor Benn To Face Steven Backhouse Amir Khan Hangs Back as Family Dispute Erupts on Social Media UFC's White: 50 Cent Told Me Mayweather Really Wants McGregor Anthony Joshua: I Put Away Molina, I'll Fulfill My Destiny in 2017 Felix Diaz Ready For Stay Busy Fight With Morales in Santo Domingo Jason Quigley Aims To Finish Off 2016 With a Bang Mikey Garcia: If Top Rank Makes Fair Deal, I'll Face Lomachenko Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Moises Flores Purse Bid on December 19 Parker's Trainer Sees Ruiz Clash as Heavyweight Fight of The Year Knockout Season 3 Slated For April 2017 Premiere Kirkland's Manager: Wolfe Will Make Difference for Cotto Fight
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement