Los toreros que compitieron en Alicante: Tino versus Pacorro

Francisco Antón Marín ‘Pacorro’ vs Vicente Blau ‘El Tino’.

In the 1950s, Alicante experienced the greatest bullfighting competition in its history. Its protagonists were not later great figures, but they can boast of having filled their bullring to the roof on numerous occasions. This is the story of El Tino and Pacorro, the rivalry that divided the city in two.

In the 1950s, the decade of post-Manolete, when Aparicio and Litri were vying for applause in all the bullrings of Spain, and spectators were divided between the class of the Madrid native and the tremendousness of the man from Huelva, the city of Alicante remained on the sidelines of this rivalry. The reason? In La Terreta were El Tino and Pacorro, two novice bullfighters with such captivating personalities that they divided the city in two.

It was impossible to stay out of that battle, which crossed the border of strictly bullfighting. Those who lived it tell that in some shops a sign became famous: “it is forbidden to talk about El Tino and Pacorro”, such was the bitterness between both sides. The bullring was filled at each mano a mano scheduled in the bullring of Plaza de España, and, the next day, in the Central Market, located a few meters from the bullring, the comment always revolved around the celebration of the previous day. And there began to arise discrepancies, even to raise the conversation tone and end the matter with cudgels.

Every day of celebration, fans crowded around the bullring, and many of them accessed it after having pawned personal belongings with which to afford the ticket. The supporters of El Tino were located in the sun, in the 8th row, and used all kinds of devices to face the sun and mitigate the humid and suffocating heat of the Mediterranean. And meanwhile, in the 6th, the “Pacorrists”, waiting for their bullfighter to win the game to his rival to celebrate the triumph and fill the bullring with streamers.

El Tino versus Pacorro - Alicante
Foto: Alicantepedia

They say that the origin of the rivalry was born in a festival held in 1953. Pacorro, who cut off the two ears of his bull after a great performance, was heckled by the supporters of El Tino, and, when good old Paco passed under them, he threw them the ears as a sign of affront and rejection. That gesture led to the debates, disputes and discussions mentioned above, and not only, as we have seen, in the stands of the bullring.

What were El Tino and Pacorro like?

But what were El Tino and Pacorro like? In reality, neither had a brilliant career afterwards, and as matadors, they did not cross the regional border either. Vicente Blau “El Tino” was three years older (1933). A native of the Santa Cruz neighborhood, he took the alternative in 1957 in his hometown, with Julio Aparicio as godfather of the ceremony. Francisco Antón “Pacorro” (1936) was a native of another illustrious neighborhood like San Blas, and received his doctorate in Murcia a year later, in April ’57, at the hands of El Choni.
El Tino was a brave bullfighter, who confirmed in Madrid (1961) and in his land shared the poster, among others, with Antoñete, Aparicio, Litri or César Girón, until his farewell in 1970, alternating no less than with El Cordobés and Palomo Linares. After a time in the ranks of the subordinates, he returned to wear the gold for a few celebrations in which he acted as godfather of the alternative of his son Arturo Blau Espadas (1982).

Pacorro, on the other hand, also ratified his doctorate in Las Ventas, in 1957, just a few days after having received it in La Condomina Murcia. He remained in the ranking for ten seasons, until 1967, when, after bullfighting in the square of his city next to El Cordobés and Paquirri, it was his great rival, El Tino, who came out to the bullring to cut his pigtail. And it is that, despite the competition that both held in the bullring, both El Tino and Pacorro always considered themselves friends.

Their story, undoubtedly, was a fundamental pillar for Tauromachy to take off and take root in a city that served as a seedbed for many other bullfighters to flourish such as Vicente Fernández El Caracol, the Esplá brothers, the master Manzanares… and so many others. There will be no Alicante, fan or not of bulls, who does not remember with affection and nostalgia those years so far in time but so present in their memory.

José Miguel Arruego, periodista taurino

José Miguel Arruego

Bullfighting journalist

If you liked this article, you may be interested:

La Saga de Los Manzanares

The ‘Manzanares’ Saga: Alicante’s Legendary Matadors

Epic and Art in the Bullring: The Immortal Saga of the Manzanares, the Legendary Bullfighters of Alicante

la saga de los espla

The ‘Esplá’: The most prolific bullfighting dynasty in Alicante

The Esplá family: A dynasty of bullfighters who marked the history of Alicante.


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