“I survived,” says Greenspon, 59, of his three-round fight at the Hilton Lac Leamy this weekend against his opponent, 55-year-old retired public servant Gilbert Latreille.
Greenspon spent four months preparing for the match. “I had to learn how to box,” he says, noting he would try to practise on the same days he plays hockey each week.
The training included sparring with Trudeau once a week — an opportunity, he notes, that probably “a few Tories would love to have” — as well as sessions at the so-called white-collar boxing night, an event that takes place at the Final Round Boxing Club. Greenspon likens it to a church basement straight out of a Rocky movie. At one point, he had to fight six other boxers in succession for 30 seconds each.
“It’s a mental and physical challenge. You learn a lot about yourself along with way.”
What did he learn? “You learn you can take a punch. I’ve never been punched in the face before.”
The event, the same one where Trudeau had his surprise win against former senator Patrick Brazeau in 2012, raises funds for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation’s research and support activities. Noting he has had friends and family who have battled cancer, Greenspon says the boxing match “was something I could do to honour that and support their fight.”
This year’s event has so far raised about $70,000, says Greenspon.
As for the match itself, Greenspon admits to having been nervous against his larger opponent, also a rookie boxer.
“As they say in Newfoundland, I near died,” he says, noting he heard nothing of the cheers from friends and family who came to watch. “You’re totally focused on the fight itself.”
Besides the win, Greenspon says he lost several pounds and, while already active as a hockey player, the experience has left him in better shape. Already, he’s thinking about a fight next year that also promises a good show for the legal community between a younger Crown attorney who expressed interest in participating in the event and another local defence lawyer.
Update 4:40 pm: photos added.