September 23, 2005

Bullfight World
By Lyn Sherwood

Another Indulto in Tijuana

El Zotoluco and Rafael Ortega Engage in Fist Fight in Zacatecas

Not that many years ago, the granting of the life-sparing indulto was very rare, something to be granted only to exceptional bulls that usually spent the rest of their lives as seed animals, which is a great job, but a hard one to get.

But, such doesn’t seem to be in vogue, today, when practically any Toro Bravo that performs the way that one might anticipate a Toro Bravo to perform, is granted the indulto. Thus, indultitis, like some viral infection, has reached epidemic proportions, throughout the bullfight world.

And, many bulls that are granted the honor of having their lives spared are assigned starring roles at the dinner table, rather than spending a life of leisure and debauchery on bull ranches.

This reporter wasn’t present at last Sunday’s corrida de toros in Tijuana, and Correspondent Gary Sloan’s review didn’t arrive by press time, so the afternoon —and the legitimacy of the indulto—can be judged only by that which was written on the Mundo Taurino Internet web site.

The plaza was ¾ full of aficionados who turned out to see a herd of El Junco bulls presented to Eulalio Lopez “El Zotoluco”, Jose Maria Lue-vano, and Fernando Ochoa.

The triunfador of the afternoon was El Zotoluco, who won two ears for his work with the first bull of the day, then returned to face “Jeorgino,” a 490-kilo toro, branded #288. Zotoluco reportedly turned in a stellar performance with Jeorgino, which was granted the indulto, while the matador was awarded symbolic ears and tail. This reporter had understood that symbolic trophies were no longer legal in Mexico. Oh, well.

The bottom line is that El Zotoluco has been the big gun of the season, with seven ears, one tail, and one indulto.

Jose Luevano was applauded for his work with both of his bulls, while Fernando Ochoa cut one ear from his first and was given ovations for his second performance.

El Zotoluco and Rafael Ortega will perform, mano-a-mano, Oct. 2. And, that brings up an interesting sidebar. Unless the whole thing was rigged (not that unusual, these days), Zotoluco and Ortega became involved in a fist fight, last week, in a hotel in Zacatecas, Mexico.

A few hours earlier, in the bullring, the two matadores had performed, mano-a-mano, with Zotoluco winning two ears and Ortega being granted one ear. Later, in the Hotel Quinta Real, the ongoing feud between the two matadores resulted in a brawl that made a mess of the dining room, until a couple of cops broke up the donnybrook. Observers declared Zotoluco to be the winner of the supposedly spontaneous combustion.

Two years earlier, a similar confrontation developed between the two toreros in Tijuana. Hype?  Truth?  Who knows?  But, the Oct. 2 afternoon promises to be an interesting one.

Return to the Frontpage