When the definitive biography of Canada's 23rd prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is written, there's going to be an entire chapter devoted to the single most important event in his political career—the time he beat the shit out of a Canadian senator on live TV.
That's right, non-Canadian readership, five years ago today, then-Liberal MP Justin Trudeau clobbered Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau in a charity boxing match that put the victor on the path to the prime minister's office and left the loser's career in tatters.
At the time, the perception of Trudeau, the eldest son of Canada's most charismatic but divisive prime minister, was that he was a bit of a lightweight. OK, that perception still largely exists in some circles, but dude was really just a famous mid-level player in Canada's third-ranking political party in early 2012. Compared to the solidly entrenched then-prime minister Stephen Harper or the recently-deceased Jack Layton, Trudeau was neither nationally beloved nor taken seriously as a political player.
So, in retrospect, you can say the stakes were high for Trudeau. Although at the time when he agreed to participate Fight for the Cure charity boxing event, the stakes were decidedly WWE in nature: the loser would have their long, luscious locks chopped off at Parliament and would have to wear a hockey jersey with the victor's party logo on it for a week.
The fight was also televised on the Sun News Network, Canada's version of Fox News, if Fox News was completely broke and shot out of a divorced dad's basement. (Sun News eventually did go under and morphed into The Rebel, which is basically Canada's Breitbart, if Breitbart was shot out of a divorced dad's shed.")
Trudeau, basically a 6'2 beanpole, wasn't given much of a puncher's shot at beating Brazeau, who was a couple inches shorter, but heavier, barrel-chested and as the Sun News commentary team pointed out, more "tatted."
"I think he's been in more fights in a month than Trudeau has been in a life," future Rebel Commander Ezra Levant (who draws heavily from the Jerry Lawler school of commentary) said as Brazeau made his way to the ring. (Surely, I don't need to make mention that there's a problematic assumption there from Mr. Levant, whose co-commenter also adds the Algonquin senator comes from a "tougher neighbourhood" than Trudeau.)
The first round of the fight had Conservatives nearly wetting themselves, as the "Shiny Pony" (Levant's disparaging but kinda funny nickname for Trudeau) took some pretty heavy shots from Brazeau, who kept finding a home for his looping, Chuck Liddell-ish overhand right. The senator kept bullishly putting his head down and running into Trudeau's jab, in an attempt to win the inside game. This is generally not a great boxing tactic. This is called foreshadowing.
The first round went to Brazeau, but ended with Trudeau laying a few awkward shots on the senator, who was already gasping for breath and was having trouble keeping his gloves up. This is more foreshadowing.
Within seconds of the second round, it became apparent that Trudeau could actually box a little, learning the craft not on the mean streets of Ottawa, but in a brightly-lit Papineau gym. Trudeau's reach advantage really came into play as his jab repeatedly got through Brazeau's rather dismal defence, leading to several decent combos and a standing eight count for the senator.
"The Shiny Pony is a Stallion," screamed Levant, who really should quit his anti-women/anti-Muslims Rebel Media gig and get into the fight commentary game full-time.
By the time the bell rang to close out the second round, future prime minister whisperer Gerry Butts was likely already figuring out what tie Trudeau should wear during his Liberal leadership acceptance speech. Brazeau looked outclassed and rather pathetic, ending the round hugging Our Future Dear Leader as is now required of all Canadian children under the age of six.
Trudeau smelled blood immediately in the third round (possibly literally given Brazeau was bleeding a little, but I can't speak for the prime minister's nostril powers) coming out aggressively and repeatedly smacking Brazeau's head around with left-right combos, leading to another standing eight count. With the Conservative taking his time out, Trudeau encouraged the crowd to chant his name, confident that he wasn't going to embarrass himself any further.
The fight ended moments later, with the ref calling it as Brazeau—nose bleeding/legs weak/mom's spaghetti—was completely unable to defend himself any longer.
"Not even close," a clearly bummed out Levant said.
So, that's the time Justin Trudeau beat the shit out of a senator. Six months later, Trudeau announced he was running for Liberal leadership, and three and-a-half years later, he beat the shit out of Stephen Harper at the polls, took over the prime minister's office, and stole the world's heart with his mighty handshake.
As for Brazeau, well, his story has been pretty damn depressing. He was charged with assault and sex assault in relation to an incident with his partner (he eventually pleaded guilty to simple assault and cocaine possession). He was booted out of the Senate for an expense scandal and charged with fraud, ended up working at an Ottawa strip club, dabbled in semi-pro wrestling, and dealt with serious mental health issues.
However, life has recently improved for Brazeau. He returned to the Senate late last year after the fraud and breach-of-trust charges were dropped, and he's now back to doing what he does best: taking $142,000 a year from the public for an unelected, politically-appointed position that requires him to do piss all.
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