Underestimate Him At Your Peril

Back in 2011, on an earlier incarnation of this site, we reported on a curious event, a boxing match between two elected parliamentarians, held to raise funds for charity. In light of Justin Trudeau’s stunning victory last night and his ascension to the highest office in the land, we re-feature that report here and look back to when the son of a prime minister first showed he should not, under any circumstances, be underestimated.  

Is there a lesson to be learned from last night’s political fisticuffs? For boxers and politicians alike? If so, it likely comes down to this: “Pace yourself; if you peak early, you may pay a steep price.”

Or, equally applicable: “Don’t take Justin Trudeau lightly.”

Trudeau came on strong in the last two rounds.

Conservative senator and former chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Patrick Brazeau, squared off in Ottawa last night with Liberal Party MP Trudeau, son of the late Pierre Trudeau, in a three round bout staged to raise money for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. On that score, the event was a major success, with more than $230 000 going to help fund cancer research. It was also a major publicity event with the winner securing bragging rights on Parliament Hill. As part of the stakes, Brazeau now must endure having his signature long hair clipped off in the foyer of the House of Commons and donning for a full week a Liberal Party hockey jersey.

In terms of boxing technique, the bout served as an excellent lesson for aspiring pugilists. In the first round, Brazeau came out firing and connected with a series of hard shots. The senator took advantage of a rookie mistake by Trudeau for taller boxers: not keeping one’s head and chin tucked down and out of the line of fire. Instead, Trudeau stood straight up, the Liberal red of his headgear a homing beacon for Brazeau’s right hand.

However, Brazeau then committed a novice error of his own, as he fired punch after punch, showing little respect for his opponent.  The young senator gave scant consideration to the fact there remained two more rounds as he chased Trudeau about the ring and kept firing heavy artillery. Before the first round was even over, he’d emptied his gas tank. A little more road work is in order for the rematch, Mr. Senator.

Brazeau in trouble near the end.
Brazeau in trouble near the end.

Trudeau took advantage of his opponent’s fatigued state in the second round, displaying superior technique in terms of his stance, footwork and a long left jab which struck home repeatedly. Midway through the second Trudeau connected with a series of heavy shots on a tired Brazeau which forced a standing eight count. Two more standing eight counts followed in round three as the prime minister’s son dominated the action. Brazeau, in addition to being exhausted, now sported a bloody nose and some swelling around his right eye. The referee called a halt roughly one minute into the final round. There was no protest from a panting Brazeau.

Ottawa ‘grits’ enjoyed a rare and much-needed, if strictly symbolic, victory, their once dominant party having tumbled to third place in the House of Commons after last year’s election. Is Trudeau’s big win a harbinger of future leadership aspirations? Whatever one thinks of his political acumen, there can no longer be any doubts about his ability to remain composed under fire, or his toughness. As Brazeau learned: underestimate Justin Trudeau at your peril.            — Michael Carbert

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