Lester Bedford knows a lot about putting professional boxing matches in stadiums. He put the last one at the El Paso Sun Bowl in 1998 and he's also putting the next one in the same Sun Bowl June 16 with world champion and son of the legend Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fighting Andy Lee.
"There's something magical about a stadium fight, so I'm always looking to encourage promoters to put the right fight into a stadium atmosphere. Obviously you have to be careful in choosing one. If it doesn't work out, you can have big time egg on your face with a small crowd," said Bedford.
The 1998 fight featured the hottest fighter going, Oscar De La Hoya against a well- forgotten Patrick Charpentier. De La Hoya carried the show and drew 49,000 fans.
"After we did 26,000 in sales the first weekend, it was obvious we had a monster winner on our hands," Bedford said.
Living near the new Cowboys Stadium, Bedford was sure a big fight there would do well. Through a contact, he met with Jerry Jones' son Stephen and another company executive.
Jones was sold and so was Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum. The next two fights of rising star Manny Pacquiao in 2010 were at Cowboys Stadium and did 92,000 ticket sales.
After helping manage and market Chavez Jr's last two fights in Texas, Bedford again dropped the stadium idea on Arum again. Arum and company president Todd duBoef quickly liked and agreed to the deal.
"I really believe the timing is ideal, with Chavez just having done his first million dollar gate in San Antonio and the fact he's doing huge ratings on HBO. I have been searching for the right fight to bring back there and I believe this is the one. For this fight we have a real barn burner with Chavez, Jr and Andy Lee. It's a true pick-em fight. I believe the fans are going to respond in El Paso again.