The El Paso Times reports that the June 16 fight between WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Andy Lee has been canceled by the University of Texas Board of Regents, citing security concerns due to border violence.
The paper also says that promoter Bob Arum and event coordinator Lester Bedford plan to fight the ruling, and still want the bout to be in El Paso.
I know nothing of the local politics in Texas, but this seems strange. There are lots of sporting events in El Paso. The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) plays sports there. And there was just a boxing card in El Paso this past weekend, as the Mares vs Morel card on Showtime took place at the Don Haskins Convention Center in the city.
Perhaps the fact that Chavez is such a popular Mexican fighter adds to the concerns, perhaps the fact that the Sun Bowl is a very large place adds to the concerns. I really don't know. If the fight has to move from El Paso, I'm sure that they can find another venue somewhere in Texas and keep the date. If they don't keep the date, that will strike me as a little odd, too. I mean, two months isn't ideal, but surely they can find a suitable host for the fight on that date within two months. Maybe not something they'd be thrilled with, but something good enough to keep a valuable HBO date, which comes one week after Manny Pacquiao's fight with Timothy Bradley, and thus will be paired with the Pacquiao vs Bradley replay on HBO.
We'll see, and we'll keep you updated.