Two high-profile Canadian politicians from a pair of rival parties will be looking to register a knockout victory on Saturday March 31—in a boxing ring.
That's right. Patrick Brazeau, an Algonquin and a Conservative Senator, will duke it out with Justin Trudeau, a Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) and son of the late Pierre Trudeau, a former Canadian prime minister.
The bout, scheduled for three two-minute rounds, is part of Fight for the Cure, an annual fund-raising event held in Ottawa. Proceeds from the event—organizers hope to raise $200,000 this year—go to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.
Brazeau, 37, said there he has no doubt as to the outcome of Saturday's bout.
"Like the election this past May, it's going to be a majority win in my favor," he said. (In 2011, the federal Conservatives remained in power with a majority government victory.)
Neither Brazeau nor Trudeau has ever been in a boxing match before, thus making it somewhat difficult for prognosticators to choose a winner.
But the event has created its share of attention, in part because the political foes really appear to not like each other, stemming from nasty Twitter exchanges they had during the last election.
“LPC platform on Aboriginal issues? Ah yes, you have none. Pathetic and weak. So much for multi-culturalism "eh" Mr.Trudeau,” tweeted Brazeau under the Twitter handle @Brazman last spring.
“Wait, Senator Brazeau goes by the handle ‘TheBrazman’? Does that help you pick up, Pat? You're a SENATOR, for crying out loud!!” Trudeau replied.
They’ve continued in kind throughout the run-up to their match.
The bout has also generated interest as both Brazeau and Trudeau are not exactly lacking in the beefcake department. To promote the fight, topless photos of the pair, who both have massive tattoos on their arms, have been published coast-to-coast.
To top that, Brazeau arrived at Wednesday’s official weigh-in sporting extremely brief briefs. When Trudeau, who at 6-foot-2 is four inches taller than his opponent, bragged about the length of his arms, Brazeau looked down the front of his shorts and joked that he had "a lot of length" as well.
Brazeau, a former chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, is three years younger than Trudeau. At 183 pounds, he's a mere three pounds heavier. Trudeau's height advantage does not seem to concern Brazeau, who was named to the Canadian senate in December 2008.
"I'm quicker and I'm stronger," said Brazeau, who has a black belt in karate. "And I can take a punch."
Brazeau added that there is no secret to what his tactics will be once he steps into the ring.
"It's very simple," he said. "I'm just going to use my strength. I'm just going to get in close to him and we'll see if his ribs can endure my punches."
Both Brazeau and Trudeau have been training vigorously for this bout since it was announced in November.
The politicians-turned-pugilists both have a personal interest in the event's charity, having lost a parent to cancer. Brazeau's mother died in 2004 of lung cancer.
"When the opportunity presented itself, in terms of being able to take part in this, I said yes immediately," he said.