EL PASO, Texas — The University of Texas System chancellor announced Friday he will allow a high-profile boxing match to be held on the school’s El Paso campus if law enforcement can ensure a safe environment, reversing a 3-day-old ban that had upset city leaders.
Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa had earlier cancelled the June 16 fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Andy Lee at the Sun Bowl, citing only a “higher than normal” security risk. A law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Friday that a federal risk assessment had warned that leaders of warring Mexican drug cartels would attend.
Cigarroa set several conditions for the fight to go forward: State, local and federal law enforcement must promise they can handle any security measures, the contract with the promoter and the security plan must be approved by system officials in advance, and no alcohol can be served.
The chancellor said he met by teleconference with local and federal law enforcement and city leaders and they assured him they can provide proper security.
“This is a region that I grew up in, that I truly love, and that I admire,” Cigarroa said. “The process of my decision-making process resulted in angst and at times anger by the El Paso community, and I accept that.”
Fight promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank said he was surprised by Cigarroa’s restrictions. Arum said he’ll have to get assurances from the University of Texas at El Paso and local police by early next week that they can be met. If not, Arum said he’ll move the fight to Houston.
“This is preposterous. We’ve never had one bit of problems in Los Angeles, Houston or San Antonio, which are all big Hispanic communities, on a Chavez fight,” Arum said.
The risk report, done by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, had said leadership of both the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels would be present at the fight – but specified there were no specific threats to the city, the event or those attending it, according to the law enforcement official.