Trudeau's son boxes clever with win in Ottawa

Sun Apr 1, 2012 12:53am EDT
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian politics is more rough and tumble than the country's reputation for civility might suggest. At times it can be downright bruising - literally - as demonstrated by the celebrity son of Pierre Trudeau, Canada's Liberal prime minister during the go-go 1960's.

Justin Trudeau, a Liberal member of Parliament in his own right, climbed into an Ottawa boxing ring on Saturday night and delivered an upset thrashing to his Conservative adversary, Senator Patrick Brazeau.

The bout, staged for an Ottawa cancer charity, was more than a good-natured publicity stunt. The combatants were to have gone toe-to-toe for three, two-minute rounds under Olympic rules in a match sanctioned by Boxing Canada, but Brazeau suffered a technical knock-out with half a minute to go in the third.

While both politicians said the event was mostly about fund-raising, they had engaged in a heated Twitter exchange in the May 2011 election and there was plenty of trash talk ahead of the match.

Brazeau - a strapping, tattooed aboriginal leader from northern Quebec who has a background in martial arts - let it be known at Wednesday's pre-fight weigh-in that he would prefer dispatching his reedy Liberal opponent by knock-out.

"He hits hard. He actually had me seeing stars for a couple of the shots," Trudeau told the crowd, which included at least three cabinet ministers and a number of parliamentarians.

But Trudeau's greater height and stamina, and 20 years more experience in sparring, proved too much for Brazeau as he had him on the ropes a number of times with a series of punishing blows.

"I proved a Liberal can take a punch. I proved that we're not people that can be counted out, even though we seem nicer and a little more touchy-feely," Trudeau said.   Continued...

Liberal Member of Parliament Justin Trudeau celebrates after defeating Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau during their charity boxing match in Ottawa March 31, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Wattie