Fighting solves everything

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Two Canadian politicians duke it out in the ring

Ed Kapp
Sports Writer

When news broke that Patrick Brazeau, a Conservative Senator, and Justin Trudeau, a Liberal Member of Parliament, were to face off in a three-round boxing match – with the proceeds donated to cancer research at the Ottawa Hospital – many Canadians thought the prospect of a pair of chamber-dwellers going at it in the squared-circle wasn’t exactly politically correct.

But Paul Grebinski, a wrestler for the University of Regina Cougars who is also an undefeated amateur mixed martial artist, admittedly had a different opinion.

“At first, I thought ‘cool,’” Grebinski noted with a laugh. “I wondered what the public perception of this was going to be. Is it politically correct for two politicians to box? I think under the circumstances, yes! But only because they both had prior combative experience and that it was for charity – everything is politically correct when it’s for charity!"

Although Grebinski was interested in the match – and who wouldn’t be, really? – he wasn’t exactly expecting a world-class tilt at the Fight for the Cure event in Ottawa on March 31st.

“I didn’t have high expectations of the skill level [that we would see in the match],” Grebinski admitted. “I was hoping for there to be some skill, as it would have taken away from the validity of the event had they both thrown punches like three-year-olds!”

Ultimately Brazeau, a black belt in karate, and Trudeau, who has many years of experience in the ring, put on an entertaining – albeit not technically-sound – match.

After a back-and-forth bout in which both men landed clean shots on their counterpart, Trudeau claimed a technical knockout victory over a visibly-fatigued Brazeau – who came into the bout as a three-to-one favorite – in the third and final round of competition. 

Although Grebinski wasn’t exactly sure what to expect going into the match, he was admittedly surprised by much of what he saw in the ring.

“I was surprised with a few things,” Grebinski offered. “Brazeau was super intense at the start of the match, throwing punches to end the fight. Both men had skill – they shouldn’t quit their day jobs just yet – but they showed experience and commitment to training. Trudeau obviously had some boxing experience and won the match by out-smarting his opponent – perhaps this sends a political message, as well.”

Despite the fact that he was entertained by the match – “I don’t have any problems with a Conservative being down for the count,” Grebinski noted – and the event raised more than $230,000, the education student doesn’t exactly see a bright future for politicians settling their differences in the ring.

“I don’t think we will see a sudden explosion of fight promotions using middle-aged Canadian politicians to promote their events,” offered Grebinski, who is to once again compete under the Saturday Night Fights 5 banner in May in Regina.

“I think this is a unique situation. If the competitors didn’t have extensive boxing experience it would be degrading to the Canadian political system. Let the politicians be politicians and let fighters fight!”

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