For those who like to watch fights, I have this short but amusing piece. Just please be aware that this is not exactly the greatest super-match ever; nor that I am an experienced sports announcer. Verily I don’t even know the difference between a Left Hook and a Rabbit Punch. Nonetheless, I will try my best to call this brief, but ever-so-satisfying match.
But first a quick introduction of our two opponents: The fighter on the left is Yury Boiko, head of the Opposition Bloc Party in the Ukrainian Rada (Parliament). As a former hockey player, Boiko is expected to do well in the boxing ring.
The fighter on the right is Oleg Lyashko, known as one of the most odious politicians in the Ukraine. And given the extreme odiousness of most Ukrainian politicians, that is quite an accomplishment! Lyashko may not be a hockey player, but he is no stranger to fighting. He is known for his extensive repertoire of youtube videos, in which he is either the perpetrator or victim of political violence. Punching, kicking, strangling, it’s all there. And it is said that Lyashko, having distinct masochistic tendencies, enjoys a good throttling or punch in the face, as much as most men do not. Keep that point in mind as you watch Boiko send him flying: That the punch-EE is thoroughly enjoying himself; whereas the punch-ER is not.
The Blow By Blow
Lyashko: [initiates his rant, it’s in Ukie, so I don’t really understand what he is going on about, something about 500 tons of something or other, some quotas, and something to do with the European Union, blah blah blah….]
0:38 seconds in: “Boyko [gesturing to the guy sitting right next to him] and Levochkin regularly travel to Moscow to receive their instructions from the Kremlin. Others travel to Brussels [to receive their instructions]. But when do you guys ever travel to the mines and metallurgy industries [here in the Ukraine]? I have a question for the SBU [secret police]: Why are these guys going to Moscow, and not rotting in jail?”
0:57 seconds in: Boyko loses his cool. He stands up, cradles Lyashko’s head in his left hand, and attempts a Right Jab. Lyashko’s blocks him with his Right and parries with a Left Hook. Boyko manages to sneak in an undercut and lands on his opponent’s jaw. Lyashko goes flying, Boyko pursues. A team of Referees, experienced in these illegal maneuvers, separates the two hotheads.
1:04 minutes in: Lyashko, no worse for the wear, taunts his opponent from the side, obviously trying for a Rope-a-Dope maneuver. Boyko, now starting to realize that his opponent does not have the glass jaw he had been hoping for, is getting worried. Lyashko bellows at him defiantly, as both men tussle ineffectually with the referees.
1:13 minutes in: Lyashko points his bony finger at Boyko while continuing to declaim righteously about the “Moscow maggots”. Boyko glances down and smirks – a clear sign of weakness. Boyko attempts the “deflection with humor” gambit, but this cannot possibly work on a keen brawler such as Lyashko.
1:16 minutes in: Lyashko is relentless in his trash-talking. “I’m not afraid of you,” he warns Boyko. “Nor am I afraid of you,” Boyko retorts lamely.
1:24 minutes in: Chief Referee Andriy Parubiy, otherwise known as the Speaker of the House, warns the two gladiators sternly that they must abide by the Marquess of Queensberry rules, or be evicted from the Rada.
1:30 minutes in: Lyashko, reestablishing himself as the Alpha Male, orders Boyko to sit down, and the latter obeys, but grudgingly, muttering “Go to hell.” Undeterred, Lyashko continues his rant. Gesturing at Boyko once more, he declaims that “The truth hurts, it’s what he reacted to. And this guy continues to fly to Moscow all the time…”
1:40 minutes in: Boyko coughs nervously. He knows he is losing it again.
1:41 minutes in: Lyashko: “They continue to keep flying to Brussels, to Moscow, and to Washington [to receive their instructions].
1:45 minutes in: Lyashko [pointing directly at Boyko]: “He’s like the last scraps of Yanukovych.”
1:48 minutes in: Boyko stands up, almost in slow motion. This right-handed fighter practically telegraphs his Bolo Punch, and yet it lands right where it is supposed to. It always helps when your opponent is a physical masochist. Once again a small army of referees intervenes to prevent a bloodbath.
2:00 minutes in: Boyko resumes his seat, dusting himself off somewhat officiously. But Lyashko, once again showing no marks on his collagen-pampered face, returns relentlessly to his designated seat. Lyashko proves once again that he ain’t no palooka.
2:06 minutes in: Chief Referee Parubiy, who bears a stunning physical resemblance to American actor James Spader, is incensed with the poor behavior of the fighters. He lectures them sternly, like their own mama would. “Your behavior is bringing shame to all of us…. blah blah blah…” But he is more incensed with Boyko than with Lyashko. Maybe because Boyko threw the first punch. And the second punch. Parubiy apparently orders Boyko to leave the premises. He must take a note home to his mom, explaining why he was suspended.
2:34 minutes in: Chastened by the fuss they have caused, the two bad boys stand with lowered gaze. Boyko sneaks a glance at Lyashko, as if musing: “How could I punch such a pretty face? And more to the point, why does it not show even a single mark? What are these hands? Are they just sponges?”
2:36 minutes in: Slyly showing his fist at Lyashko (but under the radar, so that Parubiy won’t notice), Boyko brushes past his enemy. Defiantly, but in painfully slow motion, he leaves the hallowed halls of government. Pursued by Lyashko’s manly gaze and Parubiy’s angry scolding.
The Referee took the side of Lyashko and declared him to be the winner, even though Boyko technically landed more blows. This is clearly unfair.
But is it really over for Boyko? Or can viewers look forward to a future grudge match?
And if so, will there be a Knock-Out next time around?