From T8 to TKO: Hong Kong fight fans brave the typhoon to watch Mayweather stop McGregor
With extreme weather causing havoc earlier this week, winds and rain lashed down again but punters come out in force to watch most-hyped sporting event of the year
After Typhoon Hato wreaked havoc earlier in the week, it came as no surprise to see the streets of Central deserted again as the rain lashed down and the winds blew with another T8 signal going up on Sunday morning in Hong Kong.
But if you peered inside any of the bars lining Soho’s Wyndham Street, it was far from a ghost town as fight fans came out in force to watch the highly anticipated boxing bout between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
Punters pulled up to sports bars up and down the road in taxis – whose drivers made a killing off a bloated “typhoon charge”, as my driver put it to me – like they were VIPs being dropped off at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas itself.
Stepping outside into the blustery conditions, they quickly dashed inside Hooters, Halcyon and any available bar ready for the type of sporting feast that is rarely afforded to them given the time zone they live in.
Usually we have to set an alarm to get up for the big match at an ungodly hour of the night, or just power through with a pot of coffee and a six-pack of Red Bull.
But a late night West Coast boxing fight in the US worked out pretty nicely, timewise, for Hongkongers, who packed into any available establishment to wolf down a breakfast and wash it back with a pre-midday beer or two.
— Nicolas Atkin (@NicoSCMP) August 27, 2017
Several people wandered up and down the street looking for a place to hang their soaked anoraks and watch the biggest sporting event of the year.
But they were turned away with tables booked out in almost every bar, such was the interest in this unorthodox fight between the pound-for-pound, 49-0 king of boxing and the Ultimate Fighting Championship icon.
Most of the patrons inside American-themed restaurant and bar Hooters were hoping for the ultimate upset.
Echoing McGregor’s pre-fight catchphrase, 28-year-old Andrew Adamson said: “F*** the Mayweathers,” before adding: “And f*** the Hong Kong weather.”
Brix Sumagaysay, 30, said: “I hate the T8 but I can’t miss the American great and the Irish ingrate.”
A table of raucous Americans holding flags bearing the Stars and Stripes booed McGregor as he made his way to the ring, but the rest of Hooters was firmly behind the Irishman.
Hopes that McGregor would live up to his “Mystic Mac” nickname and knock out the American legend within two rounds as he had predicted quickly faded, and the watching crowd’s enthusiasm went with it.
McGregor won the early rounds, but Mayweather seemed happy to give them up as he took a mental picture and scoped out his unorthodox opponent.
By the seventh round Mayweather was firmly in control and the deflation among the McGregor army was evident. It was only a matter of time.
The referee eventually called a stop to proceedings in the 10th round, with McGregor wobbling and unable to answer Mayweather’s punches.
UFC fans were denied the grandstand moment they had been hoping for, but surely there are few better ways to spend a typhoon day than watching the big fight with a few wings.