Chavez Jr and Lee goes ahead despite trouble over venue
By Jonny Stapleton
Andy Lee will still challenge Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for the WBC middleweight championship of the world, but the fight won’t take place in EL Paso, Texas as initially announced.
The Limerick fighter must have feared the Mexican had managed a last minute way to avoid defending against a the dangerous southpaw when ‘cancellation’ talk broke out an hour before a scheduled Sun Bowl press conference on Tuesday.
However, the promotional team behind the much protected son of legend Julio Cesar Chavez, Top Rank assured the Irish Athens Olympian that nothing has changed bar the venue.
The fight will be moved to either Houston’s Toyota Center or the San Antonio Alamodome after Top Rank CEO Bob Arum confirmed that both venues are being held for the date and a decision will be made on which is most suitable in the coming days.
The confusion occurred because an hour before the news conference began, University of Texas and El Paso (UTEP) school officials informed Top Rank the university had to cancel the event for security reasons.
Top Rank Officials accused UTEP of racism and claim they are they are wrongfully concerned about the number of Mexican’s that will travel to the fight.
Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum said, “UTEP could not host this fight because of high security concerns. Look at the two fighters, you look at me, we’re not a security concern. High security concerns is code for something else. I am not going to say it, but you guys figure it out. We had both fighters here and our staff here. We flew everyone in
Monday night. Then this happens at the last minute.”
The actual change of venue could prove a plus for the Irish Kronk fighter. The large Mexican support expected for the undefeated Freddie Roach trained star will be diluted by moving to a venue that won’t be neutral but could prove less hostile.
Lee, however claims he was upset by the last ditch change and said,
“It’s a shame that the fight won’t be here, I was looking forward to coming here and fighting for you people.”
Chavez Jr. echoed Lee’s disappointment.
“I feel a little bit sad because we made plans to fight here for all of the people of El Paso, and I think it’s a very bad decision to tell us the day of the press conference and it’s not fair.”
ALSO LISTEN TO AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ANDY LEE ON IRISHBOXINGRADIO: RECORDED TODAY: