Opinion: Fighting – and sweating – for a worthy cause

It probably won’t be a tough call for most – one guy sometimes writes about layoffs for a living, with the other dedicated to finding jobs for people in a tough economy.

Who of these two would you cheer for in a fight?

Not a real fight, mind you. Far from it.

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Nevertheless, it stands to reason that as The Mergis Group’s Shawn Mountain and I glove-up and enter the ring at this year’s Fight For The Cure – a fully sanctioned charity boxing event to be held March 27, at the Hampton Inn and Conference Centre – there’s a good chance someone will play the villain, the other the hero.

As a journalist and probably a natural cynic, I don’t mind taking the former role. Maybe I’ll wear a black cape and mask when my name is announced, just for fun.

Indeed, this year’s Fight For The Cure promises a power punch of exactly that – good, clean fun, with perhaps the odd knockout swat thrown in for good measure. All proceeds will go to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, making for a socially responsible night of bloodlust and carnage (I kid).

The annual event, run by Matt Whitteker’s Final Round Boxing club in south Ottawa, has become something of a tradition in Ottawa’s fundraising scene and each year mixes razor-sharp amateur bouts with always-entertaining white-collar clashes. OBJ publisher Mike Curran and Forty Under 40 recipient Paul Power went toe-to-toe in a punishing slugfest last year. Another year’s festivities featured CTV’s Terry Marcotte versus Tactix’s Walter Robinson, among others.

Last year’s event attracted hundreds of spectators and this year’s, Mr. Whitteker says, promises to be even bigger.

“Sales so far this year have been strong and having Heart and Crown champion the event as the headline sponsor has helped to provide a pillar to build from,” says Mr. Whitteker, who runs Final Round and is also the co-founder of online company NoNotes.

“Last year the event grossed $50,000, and this year we are hoping to grow twofold and gross $100,000,” he says, adding he expects between 400 and 500 attendees this year. “But we still need community support to help achieve our goal.”

It also features a charity sports memorabilia auction, great business development opportunities and a stellar meal.

It certainly will be entertaining, I think. Indeed, as soon as I heard my opponent’s last name, I knew I was going to be in for a good fight.

After all, anyone named “Mountain” has got to be able to throw a good punch.

But it’s not just Mr. Mountain and I who will don headgear and oversized shorts at centre stage next month. This year’s Fight For The Cure features bouts between Mr. Robinson (back again this year) and George Boszormeny of Castor HVAC, and Upside Wave’s Wayne Shimoon against Marwan Abdalla, owner of three Subway restaurants in Ottawa.

We’ve all been training at Final Round since the fall or early winter – military-style training, to be sure, that leaves you gasping for air and drenched with sweat at all times – and are now honing our skills in the final weeks of preparation.

The only question is, will you be there to see what happens?

That, and the nagging question of what song I want playing when I enter the ring.

Something ominous, no doubt.

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