By Lyn Sherwood
What’s all this jazz about West Nile Virus? Another widespread infection is having far greater impact on La Fiesta Brava. It’s called “indultitis”, and it’s spread by fans who apparently believe that any bull that performs the way a brave bull is expected to perform should have its life spared, via the granting of the indulto. And, it has become so common in Tijuana, the honor has lost much of its importance.
I admit it. I didn’t see last Sunday’s corrida in Tijuana, so I can’t really comment on the validity of the indulto that was recorded. I have to depend on past experience, and the fact is that the Tijuana crowds are indulto happy. Let’s see what Tijuana Correspondent Gary Sloan thought about last Sunday’s action.
Sunday, 9/29/02, Plaza Monumental de Tijuana. Bulls from Celia Barbabosa for matadores José Maria Luevano, Fernando Ochoa, and Jeronimo.
With his first bull, “Pintor” (550 kilos), had a good first tercio with nice verónicas. The bull was brave against the horse. Luevano had a decent faena, with moments on both sides. A great estocada won an ear.
With his second bull, the 470-kilo “Salsoro,” Luevano was presented a grand opportunity with a great animal. Luevano offered wonderful cape work. The bull was brave against the picador’s steel and the matador gave a faena that was perfect on both sides. Long naturales, beautiful derechazos. It was a thing of beauty. After three entries with the sword and a descabello thrust, it was over. The crowd demanded an ear, which was granted.
With his first bull, “Romancero,” at 455 kilos, Fernando delivered great verónicas and a super rebolera. Following the pic’ing, Ochoa invited Jeronimo to do a quite. Jeronimo chose chicuelinas antiguas and performed them well. Ochoa then did very well with a set of chicuelinas.
The faena that followed was terrific, filled with parar, mandar, and templar. It was all there, both right and left sides. Two swords, two ears.
When his second bull, “Rumbosa,” with 505 kilos, entered, it became obvious that the gods of tauromaquia were smiling on Fernando. They sent him a toro of which legendary performances are made, and Ochoa enthusiastically accepted the opportunity.
His opening cape work was sensational. The bull took two strong puyazos and wanted more, but Fernando requested that the act be changed. His faena was complete in every respect, with some 50 or 60 sensational muletazos. Naturales and every other pass in his repertoire, including an Arrucina. When it came time to kill, the crowd demanded the indulto, which was granted for this wonderful toro. Symbolic ears and tail were illegally granted.
The matador did absolutely nothing with either cape or muleta to his first bull. He started in the same manner with his second bull. But, as the light had faded, I didn’t stay for the faena, so I don’t know how it went.
I conclude that this performance by Ochoa firmly establishes him as the best young torero in Mexico.
This coming Friday will mark the retirement of Spanish Matador Curro Vásquez, who announced, “The most difficult thing for a torero is to know when it’s time to retire.”
Following more than 30 years in the profession, he will leave the rings as a classic torero, one who has demonstrated his respect for the dignity of the art. His despedida will take place in Arenas de San Pedro (Madrid), during a mano-a-mano with El Juli.
Vásquez had retired once, previously, in 1994, but this one, he insists, will definitely bring his professional career to an end.
The Plaza Monumental of Morelia was filled to capacity, Sept. 30, for the annual Golden Ear corrida. At the end, Eloy Cavazos won the Golden Ear trophy, after winning three ears.
Cavazos, Guillermo Capetillo, Jorge Gutierrez, and Rejoneador Enrique Fraga faced a herd from Reyes Huerta. Two of the bulls were so good, the ganadero was afforded a turn of the ring.
The crowd seemed, at first, to be predisposed against Cavazos, but his joyful performances with cape and muleta soon won them over.
Capetillo received a difficult first bull and encountered big troubles at the supreme moment, requiring 12 entries with the sword. He did much better with his first bull, especially with a fine set of veronicas. He was good with the muleta and killed with a great placement, receiving an ear for his efforts.
Gutierrez received the worst bulls of the day. He was willing and courageous, enjoying good moments with each. He received strong applause in the center of the ring for his excellent efforts.