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Natalicio addresses conditions set by UT-System Chancellor for Chavez-Lee fight

Published: Saturday, April 28, 2012

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05

Natalicio Chavez presser

Aaron Martinez / The Prospector

A few hours after UT-System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announced the Sun Bowl could now host the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Andy Lee boxing match, UTEP President Diana Natalicio discussed the conditions the chancellor set in order for the fight to take place.

“I considered what we accomplished today to be an important positive step in the right direction because we were running out of time with the promoters and it was just critical that we have some sort of forward motion here,” said Natalicio during a April 27 press conference.

Lester Bedford, event coordinator for Top Rank Boxing, said they are happy with the renewed chance for the fight to be held in El Paso, but they are concerned about the conditions the chancellor set for the fight.

“We are optimistic. We have seen the conditions and believe they are workable,” Bedford said. “Nothing is set in stone yet. We are now in contact with the UTEP administration and are working toward an agreement.”

Natalicio said one of the conditions the chancellor required was a ban on alcohol sales and consumption for the event. She said the chancellor did not give her a specific reason as to why one of the conditions involved the ban of selling any alcohol during the fight.

“Perhaps he believes alcohol could make security more complex, I don’t know, he didn’t elaborate. That’s simply what he expressed as a condition,” Natalicio said.

Natalicio said she spoke with the chancellor about selling alcohol and she felt that managing and selling it would not be a problem.

”We do this routinely. We have a process, we know how to do this and frankly, we believe it is better long term for us to sell alcoholic beverages, beer in particular, at these events than to have people know that they are not going to buy beer at the event and drink as much as they can before they come,” Natalicio said.

As to why the chancellor originally decided to cancel the fight, Natalicio said those who live far from the border have a misconception about this area.

“I think those of us who live here are far better able to assess the risk than those who aren’t here,” Natalicio said. “Local law officials are the people who know what’s happening.”

Natalicio said UTEP Special Events organizes any event on campus and that this was the first time she had to intervene and the first time the chancellor had ever cancelled an event during her nearly 25-year tenure as president. After talking to the chancellor, Natalicio said the efforts by the university, city officials and local law enforcement agencies showed the chancellor that there was no security risk. 

“The chancellor has been really clear that he was satisfied that we would take all necessary precautions to do a risk assessment and provide appropriate security for the event. He was satisfied that all his concerns about security would be addressed,” Natalicio said.  

William Vega and Aaron Martinez may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.

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