August 1, 2003

Bullfight World
By Lyn Sherwood

Great Bullfight Afternoon in Tijuana

Aficionados were treated to a grand afternoon, July 27, in Plaza El Toreo de Tijuana. Under hot, muggy weather, Eulalio López “El Zotoluco” alternated with Fernando Ochoa and Alfredo Gutierrez, facing four bulls from Fernando de La Mora and two from Bernaldo de Quiros. The afternoon is reviewed by Tijuana correspondent Gary Sloan.

For the second corrida in a row the probable número uno Mexican Matador, El Zotoluco, came to town. With his first toro, “Centenario,” at 445 kilos, López started with nice verónicas, and finished with a tight media veronica. After the pic’ing, Zotoluco gave a decent faena, mostly on the right. Lalo attempted some naturals, but the bull was very treacherous on the left, almost catching him, a couple of times. After a very low sword placement and one descabello thrust, it was over. Applause.

With his second animal, “Galeón” (525) kilos, the angels of La Fiesta Brava descended on the plaza. After opening with strong veronicas and another terrific media for the remate, Zotoluco took the bull to the horse. He then drew the toro to the center of the ring for a sensational set of “Chicuelinas” that were tight, low, and close, so close, that Galeón caught him on the fourth or fifth lance, and gave him a hard cogida. No damage was done, and with ovations of “Torero! Torero!, the matador progressed to the third act.

The faena was nothing short of phenomenal, including two, consecutive Dos Santinos, and strong work to both sides. Alas, his sword failed him, and after three tries he finally succeeded. One ear. I have to say that this was one of the best lídias that I’ve ever witnessed in Tijuana.

Ochoa

With his first animal “Don Hugo” (550 kilos), Ochoa gave us good verónicas and a nice remate. After the pic’ing, the faena was very good on both sides. Very smooth. One thrust, and one golpe with the descabello, and Ochoa was applauded.

With his second toro, “Norteño”, at 460 kilos, Fernando accomplished very little with the capote, but his faena was sensational! Strong tandas on both sides, especially on the left, sent the plaza into a frenzy. He was simply wonderful. His touch and citing distances were sublime. Trying to kill in the “receiving” style, the bull didn’t cooperate, so the matador dropped it “a un tiempo” and cut two, well deserved ears.

Gutierrez

With his first toro, “Cachanilla” (500 kilos), Alfredo’s attempted cape work was poor and came off looking very stiff. He failed to cargar la suerte. After the pic’ing, he had an OK faena, but the bull was weak, and the faena went nowhere. Three attempts with the sword and it was over. Light applause.

With his second animal, “Chubeto” (535 kilos), once again, awkwardness with the capote made the first tercio look stiff. After the pic’ing, the faena that followed was excellent. Strong tandas on both sides, and a torero who was performing way over his head. It was thrilling! A great sword, and a cogida to boot, and the tail was awarded.

All three matadors left the arena upon the shoulders of the fans.

In the final analysis it was a terrific afternoon. The next corrida will be Rafael Ortega, Paco Gonzales, and Ignacio Garaby, at the bullring by the sea, August the 17th. See you there.

*****

TORO TOPICS

Young Mexican Matador Ale-jandro Amaya, who was trained by Juanito and David Silveti, cut four ears, a Sunday ago, during a Goyesca, celebrated in the plaza of Cantillana, near Sevilla, Spain. He left on the shoulders of the fans, along with Spanish Matador Manuel Ruiz “Manili”, who cut two ears.

*****

Triumph was in the cards, July 27, for South American Matador Leonardo Benítez, who cut three ears during a corrida in Tecozautla, Hidalgo, Mexico. Also registering triumphs were José Daniel Ayala (two ears) and Alberto Espinoza (four ears).

*****

Much to the disappointment of Mexican aficionados, “King” David Silveti has retired for the third, and probably final, time. Few matadors in history have suffered the number of injuries as has Silveti, who is the brother of Alejandro, son of Juanito, and grandson of Juan “Sin Miedo”.

In spite of numerous surgeries to his knees and a recent head injury that caused brain damage, David invested 26 years in becoming one of Mexico’s finest, most respected toreros.

Following a seven-year retirement, due to his knee problems, Silveti returned to the rings and performed in 12 corridas—two of them in La Plaza Mexico—. But, in San Miguel de Allende, in October of 2002, while performing in a festival, he received a serious head injury. Following the advice of his doctors, David retired for the rest of the year. But, he once again returned to the rings, working two corridas in La Plaza Mexico, Jan. 12 and Feb. 2. But, on Feb. 22, in Cadereyta, Nuevo León, Silveti became ill, and after careful examination of his brain, doctors advised the matador to give up bullfighting.

Will David Silveti return, again? That’s a question mark. But, his two sons, Diego and Eduardo, have begun to demonstrate an interest in toreo, and David is, of course, training them.

How does David Silveti want to be remembered by the aficionados?

“As a good torero, a good Mexican, a good Catholic, a good man, and a good father,” he responded.

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