El Paso Senator requests consultation procedure for UT Board of Regents after cancelled boxing fight on campus

Bobby Blanchard

State Senator José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, is looking to work with the Board of Regents and the UT System on establishing a set of procedures that will assure cooperation with local officials regarding safety concerns for future events.

Boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. defeated opponent Andy Lee in the seventh round at the Sun Bowl on UT-El Paso’s campus last weekend without any reported incident of drug cartel violence. In May, the fight was cancelled by Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, who cited a “higher than normal” risk assessment with holding the event. It was later reported by the Associated Press that this risk was a concern about cartel presence at the match.

After Cigarroa cancelled the fight, the local El Paso community protested, upset that no local officials had been consulted. Officials like Rodríguez also claimed the town was being discriminated against because it is a border town.

Eventually, Cigarroa said he would allow the fight as long as additional security measures were added and alcohol was not sold at the event.

After the incident, Rodríguez sent a letter to the Board of Regents requesting a set of procedures requiring collaboration with local officials. Rodríguez said the board replied with a desire to work with Rodríguez in the future.

“What I’m basically saying is, ‘Look, if you have concern about another event like this here on our college campus, check with the local authorities, check with the local officials, check with the federal officials before just making a decision,’” Rodríguez said.

Rodríguez said almost 14,000 people attended the fight, which was fewer than UT–El Paso expected. Prior to Cigarroa cancelling and then resuming the fight, as many as 20,000 people were expected to attend.

“We think if they had been allowed to sell beer, then they would have had more people there,” Rodríguez said. “My view is there would have been more people there had there not been that negative publicity on it.”