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 Porter's Coach: 1000% We Can Beat Keith Thurman in Rematch! Martin Murray vs. Gabe Rosado - CompuBox Punch Stats Shawn Porter vs. Andre Berto - CompuBox Punch Stats Imre Szello Stops Toth To Retain WBO Regional Belt in Hungary Pacquiao Aims To Make Statement, Prove He's Still in Top Form Breazeale Ready To Replace Fury - Fight Parker on Late Notice Broner: Somebody Tried to Kill Me, But It's OK; I’m Still Here Pacquiao: I Don't Know Much About Horn, Haven't Seen His Fights Murray on Gabe Rosado's Complaints: I Won The Fight, F*** Him! Team Parker: Hughie Fury Never Wanted To Come To New Zealand Klitschko: Joshua Wants To Be a Billionaire, Must KO Me as Promised Team Fury: Hughie Suffered Lower Back Injury, Not Medically Fit Amir Khan To Keith Thurman: Forget Porter, Fight Me! Kazuto Ioka Shines To Retain WBA Belt, Tapales Wins By TKO Billy Joe Saunders Not Impressed, Vows To Expose Khurtsidze Photos: Oscar Valdez Beats Miguel Marriaga in a Grueling War Photos: Jermell Charlo With BRUTAL Knockout of Charles Hatley Photos: Martin Murray, Gabe Rosado Nearly Brawl Over Scores Photos: Shawn Porter Drops, Mauls Andre Berto For TKO Win Photos: Avtandil Khurtsidze Crushes Tommy Langford in Five Photos: Arthur Abraham Defeats Krasniqi To Secure WBO Shot Billy Joe Saunders vs. Avtandil Khurtsidze on July 8, Copper Box Kevin Lerena vs. Sergio Ramirez at Emperors Palace Anthony Joshua Sees No Reason To Fight in U.S. To Raise Profile Gilberto Ramirez Ready For Golovkin Next: Just Send The Contract! Jermell Charlo: Jarrett Hurd Took My Brother's Title - We Can Unify Keith Thurman: Porter Fought His Way To Earning a Rematch Carlos Castro Stays Undefeated with Decision Over Palacios Oscar Valdez Drops, Decisions Miguel Marriaga in Tough Fight Joseph Parker's Promoter Does Not Believe Hughie Fury is Injured Gilberto Ramirez Dominates Max Bursak To Retain WBO Title Shawn Porter Stops Andre Berto in Nine To Earn Thurman Shot Andre Berto vs. Shawn Porter - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Jermell Charlo Knocks Charles Hatley Unconscious In 6th Round Parker's Promoter is Furious: Hughie Fury Claims He is Injured! Shakur Stevenson Makes Pro Debut, Beats Brito in Five Rounds Serrano Stops Santana; Becomes 5-Division Women’s Champ Andre Berto vs. Shawn Porter - CompuBox Historical Review Jessie Magdaleno Destroys Adeilson Dos Santos in Two Rounds Magdaleno: I'm Hungrier Now, Holding This Belt For Many Years
Advertisement
Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement