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City Officials Fighting to Keep Boxing Match in El Paso

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 8:10pm

Mayor John Cook believes the cancellation of boxing's world middleweight championship bout is an unfair slam not just against El Paso but against Mexican citizens who would come to the event.

The University of Texas System said the Sun Bowl is not the appropriate place for this fight because of high security concerns.

Everyone in El Paso is expressing outrage over the UT system's decision to cancel the boxing match in the Sun City. The match between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Andy Lee was scheduled for June 16th at the Sun Bowl.

Mayor Cook and numerous law enforcement agencies, including the FBI of El Paso said there is no security risk.

"We know of no known credible, specific or direct threat to this event," said Agent Mike Morgan with the FBI.

Police Chief Greg Allen is in contact with UT's police department and federal agencies. The chief is asking why the Sun Bowl is an inappropriate place for the boxing match.

City Manager Joyce Wilson has contacted the UT Chancellor's Office requesting documentation that led to their conclusion.

State Senator Jose Rodriguez said he talked to the chancellor on Tuesday.

"I did pose to the chancellor the question, 'Do we have intelligence, do we have solid evidence that there is some incident that could occur or some kind of harm that could be done on people visiting the event' and was given no answer to that question. Other than, 'We did an assessment. It was a high risk and I made the decision on that basis,'" said Rodriguez.

Mayor Cook will formally condemn the decision at next week's city council meeting.

The mayor said he's reached out to Governor Rick Perry and plans to go to Austin himself to talk to the UT Board of Regents.

"I will be going to Austin to speak to them and give them a piece of my mind and tell them what a dastardly thing they've done to the city of El Paso and that we're not just gonna stand here and take it," said Cook.

The mayor said he spoke to the UT chancellor Tuesday and confirms that a UT security assessment team is concerned about a security risk but they haven't given him any specific reasons.

"The only difference is that this is a fighter from Mexico,” said Cook. “That's the only difference so what he's concerned, is just not man enough to say it, he's concerned about Mexicans coming into the Sun Bowl that they are gonna be presenting a danger to El Pasoans."

The El Paso Delegation sent a letter asking UT Chancellor Cigarroa to keep the fight in El Paso. The letter said "The UT system's response does not articulate what specific facts or evidence gave rise to an assessment of 'higher than normal' risk. This decision is ill-informed, baseless, and destructive.”

The letter also said, "It is shameful considering El Paso's history demonstrates that we can successfully host these types of events without any incidence of violence."

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