It wasn’t the usual boxing teleconference Monday.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum normally would have been hyping the company’s fights on its March 28 Latin Fury 8 card in Tijuana. Instead, he was discussing safety.
Mexico’s rampant drug violence has caused concern for would-be travelers, leaving Arum in the unenviable position of trying to vouch for the safety of the area. Tijuana mayor Jorge Ramos even joined in and tried to put a positive spin on the situation.
“I know there have been some problems in Tijuana with the drug trafficking,” Arum said. “But they have it under control.”
A U.S. State Department travel alert to Mexico has been in effect for several months. The alert was revised Feb. 20, and Tijuana remained part of the advisory.
But Arum said it’s unfair to lump Tijuana in with Juarez, where recent acts of violence have taken place.
“It’s wrong for the State Department to paint all of Mexico with a broad brush,” Arum said. “I have absolutely no compunction about coming to Tijuana.”
The card, which features Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., will be at the Plaza de Toros, a 21,000-seat bullring about 15 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Baja California tourism officials hope the card will alleviate visitors’ fears of coming to Tijuana.
“How many people get killed in Las Vegas?” Arum said. “Does that mean people should stay away from Las Vegas because there was a drug killing the other night?
“The person who is coming to Tijuana to watch boxing has nothing to worry about.”
• ‘PACQUIAO-HATTON 24/7′ — HBO Sports will air the first installment of the reality series “Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7” on April 11, the same night it will air the Winky Wright-Paul Williams fight at Mandalay Bay.
Subsequent installments will be shown April 18, April 25 and May 1. Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton will fight for Hatton’s IBO junior welterweight title May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden.
• PLANET HOLLYWOOD CARD POSTPONED — The card scheduled for Saturday at Planet Hollywood has been postponed until May 16 because promoters couldn’t secure the musical entertainment for the “Rock This Box” promotion.
Ron Johnson was scheduled to meet John Johnson for the World Boxing Federation light heavyweight title, and Las Vegas’ Melinda Cooper was to have fought Monica Lovato for the vacant International Female Boxing Association bantamweight title. Both fights are expected to be part of the new date.
• NEW YORK CARD CANCELED — A card scheduled for Monday in New York that included Las Vegan Wayne McCullough was canceled for financial reasons.
The 38-year-old McCullough, a former world bantamweight champion who is 27-7 with 18 knockouts, would have been fighting for the first time since June 20.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@ reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.