Attacker Jamie Fieldhouse, 27, was jailed for 18 months yesterday after Leeds Crown Court heard he left Simon Linsell prone on the ground after repeatedly punching him in the face.
Carmel Pearson, prosecuting, said the two men had known each other for years, having previously gone to school together.
It was alleged Mr Linsell had bought some drugs from Fieldhouse who then complained he had not been paid properly and text messages were exchanged.
Fieldhouse then sought Mr Linsell out. After learning he was at a working men's club in Beeston, he waited outside and when Linsell left at around 6pm, there was an argument.
Fieldhouse walked back towards his car but was then seen on closed circuit TV to turn back and assault Mr Linsell after something was said. He pushed him to the ground and when the other man got up punched repeatedly him in the face.
Miss Pearson said one of the blows knocked Mr Linsell clean to the ground where he believed he briefly lost consciousness. Fieldhouse left him prone and bleeding on the ground.
He was helped by staff at the club and X-rays in hospital later revealed two fractures to his jaw and fractures to the nose and middle of his face. He also had to have a tracheotomy because of problems with his breathing as a result of the fractures and was off work for six weeks.
Fieldhouse, of Barkley Grove, Beeston, Leeds, an amateur rugby player who previously played for Hunslet Warriors, admitted causing grievous bodily harm last May.
James Littlehales, for Fieldhouse said he regretted his actions after he was provoked and denied the debt was over drugs.
He was in full time work as a joiner and the incident was totally out of character as shown in references from the rugby club and others.
Jailing Fieldhouse, Judge Paul Hoffman said in his view the debt was about drugs which was why he had sent threatening text messages. He had then sought out his victim and although no weapon was used had repeatedly "pummelled" him with his fists.
"Experience shows fists can cause significant damage," he added.