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Unpopular Chavez/Lee Decision Boils Down to Risk [OPINION]

Promoter Bob Arum answered questions from the media after announcing the Chavez/Lee fight would not take place at the Sun Bowl. (Photo Courtesy of Top Rank Boxing Facebook page)

Take a look at just about every product you purchase.  Chances are you will see a huge warning label telling you about the risk associated with that product.  After a famous lawsuit some twenty years ago, steaming hot cups of coffee from McDonald’s now come with a warning telling you the contents may be hot and can burn you.

Somewhere along the line, the risk assessors and lawyers took over, and it seems as if every decision is made to minimize risk and liability.  Risk and liability had to be what the UT compliance office had in mind when they nixed the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr./Andy Lee fight at the Sun Bowl.  Earlier in the day, this was the only statement UT made about their decision:

“After consultation with the University of Texas System officials, it was determined the Sun Bowl on the UTEP campus is not the appropriate venue for the Chavez Jr. and Lee professional boxing match.”

Later in the evening they released this statement:

“A specific event risk assessment was performed and the conclusion was that the risk was higher than normal. Based on this assessment, the decision was made that the university and Sun Bowl would not be an appropriate venue for this specific event. The decision was not made by the UT System Board of Regents. It was made by University of Texas System Administration officials.

Furthermore, this decision should not be generalized to other events at UTEP or other UT institution facilities. If there was an elevated risk determination associated with any event hosted by the other 14 UT institutions, the same decision would have been made.”

However unpopular the decision will be in El Paso, I can assure you it was not personal, and no one is out to ‘Screw El Paso.’  A compliance office full of people who have probably never seen a boxing match in their life came to this decision because they didn’t want to deal with any risk associated with the fight.

What it the risk?  Plain and simple, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is a rock star in Mexico and may have some ties with the uber-dangerous Sinaloa cartel.  That apparently raised enough red flags and eyebrows in Austin to pull the plug on the fight.

Does is suck that they feel this way?  Hell yes it does.  Chances are nothing would happen, but the compliance office’s job is to leave nothing to chance.  For the record, the compliance office would not allow this fight to happen on any UT campus or venue.

We just have to face the fact that we live in a world controlled by risk assessors and lawyers.  The risk assessors exist to protect hides, while the lawyers exist to skin hides when things go wrong.

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