By Lyn Sherwood
Two of the hottest matadores in México are Eulalio López “El Zotoluco” and Rafael Ortega. The two of them came together, last Sunday in El Toreo de Tijuana for a mano-a-mano, facing bulls of Santiago.
Who was the most triumphant of the two? Decide for yourself. Following is the report from Tijuana correspondent Gary Sloan.
The celebrated mano-a-mano between El Zotoluco and Rafael Ortega attracted a large crowd, last Sunday, in Tijuana. But, there was no clear triunfador of the encounter, although Ortega suffered two gorings.
Eulalio López opened the afternoon with the 460-kilo “Pablito,” to which he gave strong verónicas and a great media verónica. He then took the bull to the horse with a beautiful set of chicuelinas andantes (walking chicuelinas).
His faena was grand, with strong muletazos to both sides. It was a very dominating, precise performance. Following a perfect sword, he was granted a pair of ears.
With his second, “Artista”, at 535 kilos, Lalo accomplished little with the cape, but turned in a good third act, punctuated by another fine sword and another two ears.
With his third bull, “Aventunero” (475 kilos), Lalo was great with the capote, winning strong ovations. The faena was very good, but the sword was low, limiting the matador to a turn of the ring.
With the 515-kilo “Canchanilla,” Rafael did little with the cape, but placed two fine sets of banderillas, missing with the third pair. His faena had little to recommend it and his sword was very low, a genuine bajonazo.
His second bull, “Rio Jano,” a 490-kilo animal, Rafael opened with a kneeling larga cambiada in the center of the ring, but didn’t do much more with the capote. Following the pics, Ortega placed three fine pairs of sticks and was strongly applauded.
The faena that followed was great on both sides and was topped with a wonderful sword placement, which won him a pair of ears.
Then, with his third bull, the 480-kilo “Bohemio”, Ortega was good with the cape and great with the banderillas, including a pair of cortas. His faena was excellent, although he carried it beyond the point of no return, was caught and suffered two gorings. After fighting off his assistants who tried to carry him to the infirmary, Ortega returned to kill with a great sword. Ears and tail were awarded, although in this reporter’s opinion, it was an undeserved “sympathy” tail.
It has been a bloody season in Spain, especially in Pamplona, where dozens of runners have suffered gorings and other injuries, and, on July 8, two matadores were severely gored.
Pepín Liria and Luis Miguel Encabo were both gored while attempting to kill. Both Liria and Encabo suffered deep gorings in the inside of their right leg. And, the third matador on the card, Gómez Escorial received a minor wound. Liria’s goring was eight centimeters in length and damaged the cefálica artery and left a nasty wound in the biceps. He was pronounced “grave.” The goring of Encabo was of 15 centimeters, also in the right leg, and left him, too, in grave condition. Both matadores were transported to the Virgin del Camino clinic, in Pamplona.
El Zotoluco is a busy torero, these days., with 17 corridas fought and at least 50 more on his 2004 schedule.
Also setting a strong pace is the Tijuana-born matador Alejandro Amaya, who has been performing throughout Mexico and is scheduled to torear in Spain, yet this month.
The next corrida de toros in Tijuana will open the season in Plaza Monumental, at Las Playas, Aug. 15, and will feature Jorge Gutierrez, César Castañeda, and Ignacio Garabay. The bull ranch was not yet announced, at press time.
The young Mexican matador Alejandro Amaya departed Mexico to Spain yesterday, together with Eloy Cabazos as his advisor. Both of them had been invited to visit and train at some ranches before heading to Azpeitia where Amaya will perform along El Cid and Juan Diego, with bulls of Torrealta on August 1st. Azpetia is located in the province of Guipuzcoa, Pais Vasco, by San Sebastian. Town is where San Ignatius of Loyola stayed. Bulls are an important icon for the 14,000 azpetians festival starting July 31st. Town has a Celtic or and English look, it seems.