© Jeff Harper - Metro Halifax
Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau went toe-to-toe with Mickey MacDonald, a Halifax businessman, on Monday.
Justin Trudeau circled the boxing ring with his red gloves up, jabbing out at Mickey MacDonald as the pair was reflected in a large mirror opposite the ring.
Punches came hard and fast for the three rounds at Palooka’s Boxing Club Bedford Aug. 25, one of MacDonald’s multiple local businesses, as Trudeau and the former competitive boxer traded face jabs and MacDonald landed one on the Liberal leader’s back.
Despite a competitive feeling about the match, both men were all smiles after the final bell rang.
“He’s pretty good for a guy from the other side of the tracks,” MacDonald told reporters as he leaned over the ropes.
“I’ve been fighting all my life, either in the street or in the ring or in the business, so it’s all about staying in shape and keeping your focus.”
Although MacDonald supported Stephen Harper when he ran for prime minister eight years ago, The Chicken Burger owner said it’s time for someone different to step up.
“I think Justin is the change we need,” he said. “We need some younger thinking, we need some new ways of looking at things.”
MacDonald said the current government is “getting complacent” and not listening to what Canadians want.
“I think it’s time we put somebody in office that will,” he said.
Despite the blows, MacDonald said the match was all in fun and “nobody was getting hurt.”
Trudeau, dressed in black shorts and a black tank that showed off a tattoo on his left arm, spoke with kids from the non-profit Family SOS about the importance of keeping in “mental shape” by sticking to a game plan and not losing your cool.
“It’s about can you keep your head under pressure,” he said.
Calls of “Come on Justin” and “You got this Mickey,” came from the teens and trainers gathered around the mat.
Trudeau didn’t speak to reporters at Palooka’s.
A few hours before the sparring began, Trudeau spoke at a breakfast hosted by the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce before meeting with municipal leaders in Lunenburg to talk infrastructure.
Trudeau was also in Halifax to attend a fundraiser dinner hosted by MacDonald on Monday night.
Pow, right in the kisser
Not everyone was a fan of Justin Trudeau’s boxing appearance in Bedford.
On Monday, NDP MLA Maureen MacDonald tweeted:“Thinking of taking up boxing. Apparently it’s a political asset.
What do you think aspiring women politicians?”