May 21, 1999

Bullfight World...
by Lyn Sherwood

Tough Bulls, Tougher Toreros, Last Sunday

A herd of bulls from Los Martinez proved serious and difficult, last Sunday, in Plaza Monumental de Tijuana. Weighing from 495- to 565 kilos, they presented genuine problems for their matadores, all of whom, more or less, were equal to the challenge.

Consigned to deal with the encierro were Jorge Gutierrez, Fernando Ochoa, and Uriel Moreno "El Zapata."


Senior sword Jorge Gutierrez received the worst bulls of the lot and offered excellent technical details, but didn't really knock himself out, with either cape or muleta. His first toro, the 565-kilo Imperialista, offered troubles, right from the beginning. The ignoble animal hooked to both sides, was bronco, and refused to offer a clean attack. Jorge offered working lances with the cape. In the third act, the matador enjoyed a few decent moments, but generally offered a faena de aliño. He killed with an excellent sword placement and heard a division of opinions from the tendidos.

His second bull, Ignorante, at 500 kilos, made a great entrance to the arena, demonstrating the possibility that it might prove to be the vehicle to success for Jorge. He greeted it with a very good faról de rodillas, difficult Verónicas, and a nice set of Chicuelinas to the horse.

The banderillas were placed in excellent style, by Alfredo Acosta, who, at the close of the first act, was invited by his matador to receive the applause of the fans.

But, in the third act, the bull's earlier promise proved to be empty. Ignorante changed its style, becoming a far less than noble animal. Gutierrez fashioned a faena of doubling passes, which weren't understood by the majority of the crowd. It was the proper lídia, although in years past, Jorge would have worked much harder.

Fernando Ochoa

This classic artist reaffirmed that which he has demonstrated, the last couple of years, that he is a torero who is destined for big things. He has the physique, the artistry, and the integrity to become an international star.

His first toro, Infante, a black of 550 kilos and possessed of wide horns, allowed Ochoa to perform an excellent set of Verónicas and the climaxing Media Verónica. He then offered a fine set of Chicuelinas that set the bull up perfectly to the picador.

Fernando Ochoa

In the third act, Infante presented difficulties, to which Ochoa quickly responded. The faena that followed was excellent in all respects, as the matador offered series after series to both sides. But, bad luck at the supreme moment denied the ears that Ochoa would have otherwise been awarded. After hearing one aviso, Ochoa was applauded.

His second bull, Indiano, at 495 kilos, was practically a carbon copy of Ochoa's first. An excellent animal, it allowed Ochoa to open with a set of cape lances that he invented. Called Morelianas, they seemed so complicated, it's doubtful that many other matadores will ever attempt them. Ochoa then deliver a wonderful faena to both sides. The matador was elegant, classical, and filled with integrity. He missed the first sword, but, placed an excellent second entry, and cut a well-deserved ear.

El Zapata

Uriel Moreno, likewise, demonstrated that he is a star in progress. As he usually does, he invested just the right amount of salsa picante to thrill the sunny side, and plenty of art to receive accolades from the more demanding aficionados.

His first bull, Imaginativo, an animal of 510 kilos, was received by El Zapata with Verónicas on one knee, followed by very good standing Verónicas. The matador placed the banderillas well, although with some difficulty.

In the third act, Moreno designed an excellent faena of muletazos to both sides, accented by honorable adornments. But, as had Ochoa, El Zapata lost ears with the sword and heard one aviso. Applause.

With the last bull of the day, the 515-kilo Impresor, which was en puntas, El Zapata repeated his previous performance, with fine cape work, excellent placements of banderillas, and a very good faena to the right and the left. He killed with a decent sword and cut an ear.

Plaza Judge Jaime Gonzalez proved himself to be tough. The ears that were awarded might well have been granted in Madrid or Sevilla.

Thus, concluded the second corrida of the 1999 season. In two weeks, the season moves back to the downtown arena, where a herd from Piedras Negras will be faced by Luis Fernando Sánchez, Enrique Garza, and El Zapata. The action begins at 4:30 p.m.

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