In a twist almost no one anticipated and which has some bookmakers delivering huge betting payoffs, Papineau Liberal MP Justin Trudeau defeated Senator Patrick Brazeau during a boxing event held last weekend in Ottawa by a cancer fundraising society.
Third round victory
Although Brazeau, a burly martial arts expert and a former reservist in the Canadian Forces, had threatened to knock out Trudeau and was also favoured three-to-one to defeat the leaner and more genteel local MP, Trudeau prevailed with a technical knock-out in the third and final round, when the match was stopped by the referee.
While Brazeau attempted to bring the bout to a swift conclusion with an aggressive assault on Trudeau in the first round, Trudeau countered with a consistent barrage of powerful punches that wore Brazeau down through the second and third rounds, until it was clear Brazeau was nearing exhaustion and the referee concluded the match.
In an interview with Nouvelles Parc Extension News a few days before, Trudeau downplayed any political overtones attached to the match. However, it’s notable that many Conservative government ministers and MPs were among the spectators, and there’s no doubt about the fact they were cheering for Brazeau, nicknamed the “Big Blue Hope” by some media.
At least one observer noted that the Conservatives would have loved to see Trudeau knocked out as he is someone the Tories “love to hate.” Except for the fact that he and Brazeau had a testy exchange over Twitter during the last election, Trudeau could not recall the two having any outward animosity. “I wasn’t overly impressed with him, I don’t think he was overly impressed with me. It comes out well that we’re going up against each other.”
A tough adversary
Aged 37, Brazeau weighed in at around five pounds more than his adversary. But he had arms that even the 40-year-old Trudeau conceded were powerful, even if the taller Trudeau had a longer reach. “He’s very into it, he’s got a second-degree black belt in karate, he’s a kick-boxer, he’s a really tough guy,” Trudeau said.
Although Justin was first introduced to boxing by his late father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, he is now probably also acknowledging a huge debt of gratitude to Ali Nestor, the quiet but methodical chief boxing instructor at Académie Ness Martial on Crémazie Blvd., who guided and trained Trudeau to victory.