Lithe and lightfoot under the bright summer sun, the matador waited impatiently while the banderillas were planted. Then, with a series of spectacular redondos, slow, cape-twirling passes that prolonged the moment of peril, he prepared his bull for the kill. From the high-banked tiers of the arena at Málaga, Spaniards cracked out their drumfire oles. "Si!" his fans shouted at Luis Miguel Dominguin, "tú, el primero [yes, you're the best]!"

Minutes later, Dominguin's No. 1 rival was out on the sand displaying his own classic style with sword and cape. Young Antonio Ordonez, 27, moved his bull closer and closer...

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