Barroom Brawl in Cuba

By BobbyRica | January 9, 2012


Once again I was in Centro Habana for the night, this time with some old friends just out for drinking and good clean fun. These friends of mine were also a few not insignificant army men, and they might have seemed like a nice bunch out in their civvies, but you really did not want to mess with them.


We were standing and talking a little close to a stern Russian, who seemed to be getting a little inebriated and not a little bit irritated. He started shouting for more drinks at the bartender, who was all smiles humoring him. So we didn’t pay it much mind, and everything was fine until my pal Larry bumped into him.

This Russian was quick to pull out a knife. He was stupid to do it to Larry too, but I guess nobody even suspected these fun-loving Americans hanging out with Bobby Rica could be Army guys. Larry feigned submissiveness, and offered to pay for his drink, even trying some Russian. “Tovarisch!”, he exclaims, hands raised.


As Larry motioned to the bartender to come closer to pay, he himself inched closer to the Russian in the pretense of looking at the drink. The Russian did not seem to want to take his eyes off of either his rum or his sudden enemy, and of course that gave Larry his opening.

Larry suddenly grabs the glass, throws the drink at this guy’s face, then quickly grabs and disarms him. After a minute of confused agitation, a crowd gathers around, and my Army friends quickly move to keep them at a distance. I just watch at amazement at the developing scene, and I’m the first to see that as the Russian’s face clears up, he has a wide, if malicious grin on his face. He gets up and motions to Larry to come closer again, this time taking a fighting stance. Larry can’t help but smile himself as we get an impromptu little match.


You know how it goes. The two start circling each other, the Russian gets a surprising hit in, and then Larry, they both shrug it off and start going at it. Larry gives up an inch or so in height but I think he has a better reach. It doesn’t look like Larry is going to use any more Special Forces, or that either of them are going to do any MMA techniques, although both of them might be knowledgeable at it. Nope, this was just going to be an old fashioned punch out. The Russian’s punches are sloppy and he’s definitely affected by his drunkenness, but he still hits pretty hard. It isn’t long before Larry starts to get rocked.

Somehow the Russian slowly gets to his senses and shows some street smarts, as he employs some dirty boxing and gets a few good ones in. Larry has a granite jaw but clearly isn’t dishing out as much as this guy. Finally, he goes for an all or nothing punch to the Russian’s chest, which knocks him off his feet but doesn’t take him out. The crowd shouts for the Russian guy to finish it, but to our amazement he motions that it already is finished, as soon he and Larry start laughing heartily.


This did not stop the bar staff from calling the cops in on him, and for a while we kind of felt bad that he had to go now, but he did threaten the bartender earlier on. It wasn’t that much later when a bunch of other Russians show up asking for his whereabouts, and Larry himself explains that he got into a fight with him, and went ahead and escorted them to the local jail. Shame we didn’t really get his name, but this was the sort of story people don’t forget in this town soon.

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