Five months ago, in Zaragoza, Spain, the notorious bullfighter Juan Jose Padilla got bested by the bull.
It was a grisly scene: the bull, known as Marques, plunged his horn into Padilla’s throat and it emerged out of the man’s eye. (The gruesome scene can be viewed on Youtube.)
But now, it seems, Padilla can’t leave well enough alone. Doctors at first thought he’d never recover, but after long surgery, months of rehab, and with just one eye and a paralyzed face, he wants back in the ring.
Padilla told the New York Times that he has spent his time between medical visits training hard, adding that he has killed 10 bulls on private farms in preparation for his return.
Nor is this the matador’s first return to the ring. He was injured in the neck in 2001. This time, he needed major reconstructive surgery to the left side of his face, which is held together with titanium plates and mesh.
How long Padilla will last in the ring this time is uncertain. If another bull doesn’t get him, the growing opposition to this gruesome ritual may take its toll. Bullfighting is already banned in the province of Catalonia, home to Spain’s second biggest city, Barcelona.
But popular opinion and strong lobbying efforts are pushing back, and last month, Spain’s national television channel announced that it would start showing bullfights, after abandoning coverage in 2006 under the Socialist administration.
More on this at The New York Times.