Liberal MP Justin Trudeau and Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau took the fight to each other Saturday night in a different sort of political arena.
Trudeau defeated Brazeau in the third round, with the referee stopping the fight after the 6-foot-2 Montrealer backed his opponent into a corner with a series of blows to his head and body.
The charity boxing match was held at an Ottawa hotel as part of an event to raise money for cancer research. The sold-out evening, with a half-dozen other fights on the undercard and a crowd that included several federal cabinet ministers, took in $230,000 for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.
The brash, young senator from Maniwaki, Que., who has military and martial arts training, had been the odds-on favourite to win the match. He came out slugging in the first round, landing blows to Trudeau's padded headguard, but seemed to lose steam in the middle and final rounds.
Trudeau used his superior stamina later in the fight to punish Brazeau, resulting in a bloodied nose for the senator.
"It feels really good. I had a game plan that I was going to stick to," Trudeau told reporters after the bout. "I knew he would come in heavy and hard right off the bat, but I also knew that I was going to be able to take anything he threw at me. And when he did, he emptied himself out, and I just kept going.
"I'll be absolutely honest: He hits really hard."
For weeks ahead of the fight, Trudeau and Brazeau sparred on Twitter, unleashing volleys of the kind of trash-talk pugilists engage in before a big match.
"He didn't get me down," Brazeau said after the fight. He also challenged Trudeau to a rematch.
Ask what hurt most, Brazeau responded "Oh, definitely the ego."
"You know, I'm a fighter and I'm a competitive guy. Obviously I like to trash talk," he said.
As part of their bet, Brazeau now has to cut his long, pony-tailed hair in the House of Commons foyer and wear a shirt with a Liberal logo for a week. The senator said he expects to lose his locks on Monday.
Trudeau, 40, took up boxing in his 20s and sparred in the gym on and off over the years. He said he trained three days a week for six months ahead of Saturday's fight, while Brazeau said he put in five days a week at the gym for five months.