NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The highly anticipated fight between undefeated boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC champ Conor McGregor finally gets underway Saturday night.
The two spar in Las Vegas, but there’s plenty of interest around the Tri-State area.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, for many fans, where they’re watching is almost as important as who they’re watching.
“You pick up the crowd, the vibe of the crowd, and the action. Much more fun than watching at home, where I may fall asleep on the couch,” one fan said.
At Legends sports bar in Midtown, owner Liam McGreevy was preparing for one of its busiest nights this year.
“Tonight’s the mother of all nights,” he said. “We get a lot of repeat customers — we get a big UFC crowd, we get a big boxing crowd — and tonight they all come together. It’s like the perfect marriage.”
He was hoping the two big-name fighters would bring out double the fans.
“We decided to come, because we were around here and said, ‘Oh, let’s go see the fight,’” said one woman.
“It’s a good atmosphere, so many different TVs, a lot of people on both sides coming out seeing who’s going to win,” another added.
The big crowds required more employees on the floor, too. Bartender Jimmy McCormick was working an extra shift, but said it’s well worth it, saying he’ll see “a good bit” more tips than a normal Saturday night.
The match is about a lot more than individual fighters. It’s a face-off between boxing and MMA itself.
While some fans will tell you there’s no competition, others will be watching with baited breath.
“There’s a different way you train for this. Most of the guys that we be having come in our gym, some of them be MMA fighters. You got to know how to move, you got to know how to use your hands,” said coach Bernard Cooks, from Morris Park Boxing Club in the Bronx.
Cooks argued that Mayweather has the experience to guarantee a win.
“He’s like a technician in this sport,” he said.
But on Long Island, mixed martial arts fighters were expecting some powerful blows from their champ, McGregor, even though he’s never boxed professionally before.
“Look at his last couple of fights. When he knocks them out, it’s all off of punches, just like a boxer,” said instructor Brandon Freiss. “That’s why I think McGregor is going to win.”
Some experts predict there is more money on bets in this fight than any other fight in history, with about $80 million in bets.