In a wild turn of events, the University of Texas system Chancellor Fransisco Cigarroa has reversed his decision to deny a boxing match between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Andy Lee to take place at any University of Texas venue. The event was originally agreed upon by UTEP officials, HBO, and boxing promoter Bob Arum (Top Rank), but was scrapped by the UT chancellor minutes before a press conference for the match just days ago.
The chancellor's decision was made after a risk assessment done by both Homeland Security and Customs produced reports that the event would have a higher than normal risk, and that members of multiple Mexican drug cartels were expected to be in attendance. That decision however, sparked an outcry by the community of El Paso, which in turn created some of the wildest sports drama ever to hit the Sun City.
Yesterday at a press held by community leaders and multiple law enforcement agencies, it was reported that there was no imminent danger or specific threats to the event, and that the city of El Paso would do everything in its power to retain the boxing match. Even if that meant switching to a smaller venue, and putting up $1 million just to secure it. While the promoters hadn't agreed on the venue, it was assumed that with the support of the city, the fight was a go.
This morning though, Chancellor Cigarroa informed the University of Texas at El Paso of his decision to allow the fight, and thus the opportunity was again presented for the fight to take place at the Sun Bowl. The only problem: no alcohol. Cigarroa has allowed the event to take place on the condition that no alcohol would be served, and no alcohol would be allowed on campus as well. That in and of itself has already created quite the stir.
Not only would the sale of alcohol generate quite a bit of revenue, but alcohol is almost a staple of boxing matches, and has been served at previous boxing matches held in El Paso. On top of that, Tecate is a major sponsor of Top Rank, the promotion company bringing the fight to El Paso. Needless to say, the drama isn't over.
Arum has already questioned the decision of the chancellor saying, "How dare they not allow alcohol at the boxing match if they have allowed it in the past." Surprisingly enough, the ban of alcohol has even raised the question of possibly keeping the match at Cohen Stadium. The big problem is though, capacity. Cohen Stadium normally seats no more than 10,000, but can hold up to 14,000 with "floor" seats for the boxing match.The Sun Bowl can likely hold 40k+ for the match.
As of now, the only thing that is assured is that the boxing match will take place on June 16th. Everything else is still completely up in the air. It does seem like El Paso will hold onto the fight, regardless of the venue, but rest assured that we have not heard the last on this topic. More information to come, as it becomes available.