Thursday, December 1, 2011

Leonardo Manzano

Coming from Tijuana, Leonardo Manzano was a champion swimmer before entering the bullring. In the Mid-1960s, he began as a promising novillero and picked up steam after taking the alternativa. Handsome, dashing and dominating, he looked and acted like a torero in every way possible. Manzano was especially known for his work with he banderillas, placing the cortos el quiebro with consistency. He wad also good with the sword.

Though he was seen regularly in the interior, he was more popular on the border.he appeared regularly in his native Tijuana and also in Juarez. Often, he alternated with the American, Robert Ryan, with whom he shared a similar style.

Manzano took the alternativa in Chuhuahua in 1967 at the hands of Joselito Huerta and Manolo Martinez, confirming it in Mexico City in 1968 with Manolo "Armillita" and Ricardo Castro bestowing the honors.

Though his name was Manzano he was often mistakenly listed as Manzanos in books and in programs, so often that he grudgingly accepted this misspelling of his name whenever ti happened.

Nogales was another border plaza where Manzano became a regular. One of the greatest showings of his life took place in this ring in September of 1970 while alternating with Arturo Ruiz Loredo..He was tossed during the faena with his first bull and took a slight puntazo in the calf that did not hamper him from continuing. Three sword thrusts lost the ear, however, and limited him to a lap around the ring.

With his second bull, he excelled with the capote and placed three great pairs of banderillas, including his anticipated cortos.

He then gave a long faena and capped it off with a great kill to win ears and tail.

A repeat corrida, with old rival Robert Ryan in this same ring a month alter did not go as well. He took a vuelta from his first bull and heard only mild applause from his last when the beast sat down a la Ferdinand and refused to fight.

Manzano eventually retired from the trade and settled down to a quiet life in Tijuana, though he was frequently seen long afterward as a spectator in the area bullrings.

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