Rumble In The Sun Bowl
Alcohol ban still looms over title bout
Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
There still won’t be any alcohol, but there will be plenty of boxing headlined by the WBC World Middleweight Championship bout between Julio César Chávez Jr. and top contender Andy Lee June 16 at the Sun Bowl.
This is the first time Top Rank returns to the Sun Bowl since June 13, 1998 when Oscar De La Hoya defeated Patrick Charpentier in front of more than 45,000 people in attendance.
“Frankly, we hadn’t had an event that merited a venue like this that we could bring it back,” Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum said. “Because of Julio César Chávez Jr.’s popularity (we brought it back). After all, we’ve done big gates with him at Staples Center in Los Angeles, at the Reliant (Stadium) in Houston and at the Alamodome in San Antonio. We felt that this fight, which is his biggest fight, should be more spectacular. That’s why we chose the Sun Bowl.”
The 26-year-old right handed Chávez, oldest son of Mexican boxing legend Julio César Chávez Sr., holds a 45-0-1 record with 31 knockouts. He will be making his third title defense against Lee who carries a 28-1 record with 20 knockouts of his own.
Chávez is trained by Freddie Roach who also trains former WBO welterweight title holder Manny Pacquiao. His most recent title defense came against Marco Antonio Rubio on Feb. 4 at the Alamodome.
“Julio is in good shape, Andy Lee is a very good fighter...I love fighting southpaws, I think they’re easy to fight,” Roach said. “We got a good game plan, Chávez won’t get tired and he’ll be there at the end. I think we’ll end up knocking him out in the late rounds.”
Lee, a southpaw who turned 28 on June 11, is an Irish boxer from Limerick, Ireland making his first run at the WBC title. Lee’s last bout came against Saul Duran on March 10, which resulted in a second-round TKO.
Lee, who is trained and managed by Emmanuel Stewart, said that despite being the underdog, he expects to have a good fight.
“Training has gone great, all the hard work is done now,” Lee said. “I know if I box the way I can and fight how I usually fight, I’m going to win.”
Roach saw Pacquiao lose his title June 9 to Tim Bradley by a split decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada in what turned out to be a controversial ruling.
“I wonder sometimes what people are watching, but everyone has their opinions, so we have to live with what we got,” Roach said. “I’m not going to complain about the Pacquiao fight because I’m sure the whole world knows. We’ve always had good luck in Texas, I don’t see a problem.”
Chávez, who will likely have the majority of the crowd’s support said he’s looking for a knockout win.
“I only care about the fight. My concern is going into that ring and winning so I can give the crowd a good show,” Chávez said. “We’re hoping for a knockout, but we’re ready to win whichever way, either by decision or knockout. It would be nice to give people what they want.”
UT-System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa cancelled the event on April 24 due to security concerns. A day after El Paso city officials held a press conference pleading the case for the event to remain in El Paso. On April 27, Cigarroa then changed the ruling and issued a statement to keep the fight, but banned alcohol sales or possession on university property.
UTEP students expressed mixed reactions regarding the alcohol ban.
“I think it’s kind of stupid how UT can have a boxing match and sell beer, but when it comes to UTEP, it’s security reasons because of the Zetas, the cartels or whatever’s going on over there,” junior special education major, Andrew Lopez said. “I would still attend, it’s just why can UT do it at Austin and UTEP can’t?”
In the case of senior music education major, Jasmine Torres, the availability of alcohol in the event should not be an issue in deciding whether people should attend.
“I agree with the alcohol ban, because it is a boxing event, it can rile people up. Throwing alcohol in the mix might kind of increase the risk of safety,” Torres said. “I’m not (attending), but if I wanted to go, I would go to for the event and not for the sake of drinking. You can do that anytime or anywhere.”
Arum praised the city of El Paso for standing its ground in wanting to keep the fight in town during a press conference May 4. Arum also said that the promotion company makes no profit from alcohol sales and all proceeds would go to the university.
“I think it’s sending the wrong message to ban the sale of beer here, because what they’re saying is that the people in Austin can handle the beer, but the people in El Paso can’t,” Arum said in regards to other boxing events being held across the state. “That’s the only message I get from that.”