Saskatoon sports fans are getting ready for Saturday’s boxing showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, reserving their seats at bars and purchasing pay-per-view packages for the tilt.
Several establishments have already run out of room, despite many charging a $10 cover for just getting in the door to watch the fight.
Some bars are telling customers they’ll only have standing room on Saturday night, on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The tilt between Mayweather, an undefeated boxer, and McGregor, the UFC’s lightweight champion, is also generating interest from local fighting enthusiasts.
“I just hope that mixed martial arts earns the respect of boxing,” said Ali Saif, a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter with Team Outlaws in Saskatoon.
The combat sports expert told 650 CKOM the fight has the potential to grow interest for both boxing and MMA around the world, including in the Bridge City.
He said Saskatoon gyms have already seen more fighters coming through the doors as the reputation of MMA has grown.
“There are really great athletes that are coming straight from college and wrestling teams,” he said.
“They do want to see if they can go into the pure sport and challenge their skills.”
Saif said the city has already produced its “fair share” of fighters, particularly names like Mitch “Danger Zone” Clarke and Eric Wilson.
Clarke is currently fighting with the UFC, while Wilson has been ranked fourth in Canada by some fighter rating websites.
“The sky is the limit for the scene and the community to grow in the city,” he said.
As for Saturday’s storyline of boxing versus MMA, Saif said there’s still a lot to be learned.
“We still have to do our homework,” he said.
“Mixed martial arts is still in its teen years. We do act like those rebellious teens, but we’ve still got a lot to learn from the old man on the block.”
WHERE TO WATCH MCGREGOR VS. MAYWEATHER IN SASKATOON
- Hudsons Canada’s Pub
- Dakota Dunes Casino
$10 cover charge:
- Red Zone
- Sports On Tap
- Shark Club
—With files from 650 CKOM’s Chris Carr.