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Chancellor Cigarroa Makes a Shrewd, Calculated Decision [Opinion]

UT System Chancellor Dr. Francisco Cigarroa did not get where he is in life by being naive or foolish.  Facing immense pressure from local and state officials after Tuesday’s decision, Cigarroa was left with little choice but to reverse his original stance.

However, Cigarroa included a laundry list of conditions that may force Top Rank Boxing to move the fight to Houston.  Chief among the conditions is a ban on alcohol.  Fans can not consume alcohol on the UTEP campus, nor will be alcohol be sold in the Sun Bowl.

Cigarroa made a shrewd, political move.  The amount of pressure placed on the chancellor by local and state officials was overwhelming.  By not acting, Cigarroa was making a big career mistake.  Cigarroa was able to place pressure back on El Paso and Top Rank by allowing the fight on a conditional basis.

The security measures shouldn’t be deal breakers, but the alcohol ban could be enough to make Bob Arum move the fight to Houston.  If that is the case, Arum would share in the blame for El Paso losing the fight.

Arum told the AP:

“This is preposterous. We’ve never had one bit of problems in Los Angeles, Houston or San Antonio, which are all big Hispanic communities, on a Chavez fight.”

The Cigarroa ban on alcohol may be a big enough sticking point for promoter Bob Arum to move the Chavez/Lee fight to Houston. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Arum also said he’ll have to get assurances from the UTEP and local police by early next week that they can be met. If not, he said he’ll move the fight to Houston.

Cigarroa wasn’t interested in being the eleventh hour hero.  Rather, he was willing to put the ball in someone else’s court and be free of the pressure to act.  After everything that has transpired in the last 72 hours, I would be shocked if Cigarroa or the UT System Administrators make any other statement regarding the fight.

The ball is now back in your court, UTEP and Top Rank Boxing!

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