By Jake Donovan
The final piece to the puzzle has now been placed for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr’s middleweight title defense versus Andy Lee on June 16 at the Sun Bowl in El, Paso Texas.
Less than two weeks after the threat of the fight not taking place on the UTEP campus due to security concerns, tickets will go on sale Saturday morning at 2PM ET/12PM local time (Mountain Time Zone).
Chancellor Francisco Gonzalez Cigarroa announced on the day of the press conference that the middleweight scrap would have to find a new home due to the decision made by the University of Texas Systems. Overwhelming demand and reconsideration of alleged concerns forced all involved to have a change of heart.
“Top Rank is dedicating this great event to the citizens of El Paso who helped us make this event possible, UTEP and for boxing in demanding that the Chavez Jr. vs. Lee championship bout take place at Sun Bowl Stadium,” Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said in a statement.
The bout will air live on HBO’s World Championship Boxing at 10:00PM ET. Chavez Jr. (45-0-1, 31KO) fights on the network for the fourth straight time. His network debut was also his title winning effort, topping then-unbeaten Sebastian Zbik over 12 rounds in Los Angeles.
Chavez Jr. has since spent his time exclusively in Texas, though this fight will mark a third different city played in as many fights. The first title defense resulted in his first knockout in more than two years, stopping Peter Manfredo in the fifth round of their Nov.’ 11 scrap in Houston.
A 12-round decision over Marco Antonio Rubio this past February saw a sizeable crowd turn out at the Alamodome in San Antonio, though the event was hardly without controversy.
Chavez Jr. was popped for a DUI during training camp in January and struggled mightily to get down the 160 lb. limit. Once the fight was over, the WBC and the Texas Boxing Commission failed to properly coordinate regarding post-fight drug testing, leading to a protest from the Rubio camp which is still ongoing.
Meanwhile, Chavez Jr’s career moves on, much to the delight of Lee (28-1, 20KO) who had been longing for a big fight.
After spending much of last year following around Sergio Martinez, Lee was the odd man out regarding the title picture once 2012 rolled around. A third straight HBO appearance was supposed to be in the cards for Lee, but the Irish southpaw – now based out of Detroit – was pulled from the St. Patrick’s Day show when a suitable opponent could not be secured within the show’s miniscule budget.
Lee instead fought way off camera at a club show in Michigan for the sake of staying busy. Soon thereafter came the good news that the title fight with Chavez Jr. was secured, marking his first crack at a major belt. The bout is also his first in Texas. The tally is in stark contrast to Chavez Jr., who will make it an even dozen come fight night though his first in El Paso since 2006.
Tickets, priced at $200, $100, $60, $40 and $25, plus applicable service charges, can be purchased at the UTEP Ticket Center, all Ticketmaster outlets, online atwww.ticketmaster.com and by phone at (915) 747-5234.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]