There will be a political showdown in an Ottawa boxing ring rather than Parliament Hill on Saturday.
Opponents Liberal MP Justin Trudeau and Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau have been preparing for the boxing match, which is part of a cancer foundation fundraiser, for months with intensive work-out regimes and trash talk.
The sold-out fight, at Ottawa's Hampton Inn, is expected to begin at about 10:30 p.m. after red carpet arrivals, dinner and two other matches.
Earlier this month, gambling site Bodog.com favoured Mr. Brazeau three to one. Although the senator has a black belt in karate and served in the Canadian Forces, Mr. Trudeau said he shouldn't be counted out so quickly.
“I'm going to take a few punches and give some,” he said in an interview Friday, adding that he's been boxing for close to 20 years. He said Thursday's release of the Conservative budget has added to his motivation.
“I will be fighting with Katimavik in mind,” he said, referencing the youth volunteer program axed in the budget. Katimavik was created by a long-time confidante of Mr. Trudeau's father, then Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau.
Mr. Trudeau said he hasn't placed any monetary bets on the outcome of his fight but he is risking his chin-length curls. Mr. Brazeau is also known for his long locks and whoever loses will have their hair cut short on Monday in the foyer of the House of Commons, Mr. Trudeau said.
He said he's not concerned about being seriously injured, noting the headgear, mouth guard and gloves they'll be wearing. Despite the precautions, though, Mr. Brazeau didn’t rule out a knockout. “We are wearing headgear and it's very rare that people do get knocked out,” he told CTV Friday, “but if it just so happens to be the outcome tomorrow night, then so be it.”
At a public weigh-in on Wednesday, Mr. Brazeau stripped down to a Speedo and weighed in at 183 lbs (83 kilograms). Mr. Trudeau, who sported shorts, is taller but weighs 180 lbs (81.6 kilograms).
The match is part of the annual Fight for the Cure event, which aims to raise $200,000 for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. The fight will consist of three two-minute rounds and use Olympic rules.
Mr. Trudeau admitted that the politics of the fight have resulted in some people losing sight of the cause. “Certainly people have, but certainly not Pat or I. We both lost a parent to cancer,” he said, referencing his father's death due to complications from prostate cancer and Mr. Brazeau's mother dying of lung cancer.
Before finding an opponent who agreed to the match, Mr. Trudeau said he reached out to Conservatives including Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay and Calgary West MP Rob Anders.
With a report from the Canadian Press
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