Clampitt suffers “stinger” in first, Holm wins by TKO
Ringside report & photos by Chris Cozzone
That was the look on Holly Holm’s face and the question on 2,800 fight fans’ lips after less than two minutes of action, last night at the Hard Rock of Albuquerque.
No telling punches had landed. There was no blood, no falls to the canvas and no fouls committed, yet something had brought Holm’s challenger, Jaime Clampitt, to her knees, then onto her back where she writhed in pain, shortly before the bell would’ve clanged to complete round one.
At 1:53, Nevada referee Kenny Bayless was waving the fight over.
No mas. Fin. Done.
While Holm paced the length of the ring, frowning, shrugging, looking to her corner for answers – they had none – the capacity crowd, so stunned by what they were watching, even forgot to boo.
For a minute, 50 seconds, round one had proved a somewhat tentative round. Clampitt fought defensively, waiting for Holm to rush in, landing one clean right hand. Holm took the round, however, slowly mounting an aggressive attack on her smaller opponent. Then, just after the warning bell sounded, Clampitt looked to slip a punch and the two came together in what appeared to be an uneventful clinch – that is, until Clampitt sank to her knees, a puzzled expression turning into a grimace of pain as she rolled onto her back while everyone else in the arena scratched their heads.
Ref Bayless was quick to act, ruling it a TKO win for Holm.
“The key is that no foul had been committed,” Bayless explained after the fight. “There was no incident. No foul. If one had been committed, the fight would’ve been ruled a ‘no-contest’ or a disqualification, depending upon the severity of the foul.”
It might not have been that apparent to the crowd but Clampitt, surrounded by officials and a slow-to-act ringside physician, was, either, looking to win an Academy award with her performance, and failing for what would’ve been the most unconvincing frame-up since Paul Briggs’ recent swan dive to the canvas from a grazing jab of Danny Green; or, somehow, Clampitt had really been injured.
The truth was, that Clampitt had been stung by an injury known as a “stinger”; stung harder than the 2,800 fans who had to settle for the action on the undercard to get their money’s worth. There was no doubt, five minutes after the premature ending, that Clampitt was in a world of pain. Behind closed doors, backstage, she sat with her head bowed, clearly distressed, clearly in pain, a stabilizing splint on her right upper arm.
“It was weird, weird,” she shook her head. “I went down, to slip a punch, when my shoulder collided with Holly’s hip bone. I felt this pain in my neck, something snapped. I couldn’t move it all, at all . . .
“Then the pain shot through my neck and shoulder.”
“She got hit with a ‘stinger,’” explained Clampitt’s promoter, Jimmy Burchfield. “It wasn’t her fault.”
A “stinger,” or brachial plexus injury, is a wound to the nerves that run down the neck and arm. It usually occurs when the head and neck are hit to one side, stretching and compressing the brachial plexus nerves.
The injury was not a reoccurring one, said Clampitt. “There were no prior injuries, and nothing had happened during camp.”
While Clampitt was on the canvas, she shared words with Holm.
“She said she was sorry,” said Holm. “I told her I was sorry, too.”
Holm, fidgeting in the ring, ready for ten rounds to release her pent-up adrenaline, was clearly unhappy with the turn of events.
“I don’t have any idea what happened,” she said in the ring. “I don’t like it. She just . . . sank. I thought at first she’d slipped. But she didn’t get back up.
“I’m not satisfied. You train and mentally prepare for a fight and you want . . . something. I was just starting to feel her out and thought I had her timing. I didn’t want it to end this way.”
With the win, Holm reclaims her first title, the lightly-regarded vacant IBA jr. welterweight championship, that she won in 2004, raising her stats to 28-1-3, 8 KOs. Clampitt falls to 21-5-1, 7 KOs.
Holm said her next fight will take place in early December.
“For now,” she said, “I’m off to Italy for a vacation.”
“Savage” ravages Chavez
The Fresquez-promoted card might’ve fallen short of expectations with its truncated main event cut, but the undercard action did not fail to entertain, regardless of two late subs. In the co-main event, between Duke City lightweights, Randy “Savage” Arrellin (5-3, 4 KOs) got off to a slow start, but came on strong to chop down last-minute opponent Julio Chavez (6-5, 2 KOs) in round six of a scheduled eight-rounder.
Round one was tentative, neither one landing much of anything, but, in the second, Chavez outboxed Arrellin, who was having trouble getting in.
In the third, Arrellin started to close the gap and, in the final minute, had Chavez staggering all over the ring after landing an overhand right. Arrellin was all over Chavez during the fourth. Clearly hurt and losing steam by the second, Chavez’ end was just a matter of time.
For the first minute of round five, Chavez found a brief, second wind, but after another big right, it was gone. Chavez spent the next two minutes staggering around the ring and tying up while Arrellin aggressively pursued.
It was more of the same in the sixth, until a big right from Arrellin had Chavez on spaghetti legs. Like a puppy learning how to walk, Chavez stumbled around the ring until he was hit by a right that dropped him, seemingly in slow motion, to the canvas, in what has to be New Mexico’s knockout punch of the year.
On the canvas, referee Rocky Burke counted Chavez out at 1:28.
“It was part of the plan to wear him down,” said Arrellin. “I started slow, but picked it up until he was holding on for his life.”
Arrellin’s cross-town nemesis, Raymond “Hollywood” Montes, who knocked him out in his pro debuts, was in attendance, offering a rematch that would end quicker “than it takes to have sex.”
Upon hearing this, Arrellin, of course, went ballistic:
“I’m calling him out – you tell him that when he grows some balls, it’s time to step up and fight me again. The first time, it was my pro debut – now, I know no fear.”
Grimaldo dismantles Sanchez
In a six-round junior middleweight bout, local favorite Carlos “El Gallo” Sanchez (5-2, 2 KOs) was systematically dismantled by undefeated prospect John Ryan Grimaldo (5-0, 4 KOs), of Fort Collins, Colo., resulting in a fifth round TKO loss.
As usual, Sanchez came on strong. But compared to the precision-quick Coloradoan, Sanchez looked clumsy and slow. Timing his counter shots, Grimaldo sent Sanchez’s head spinning at the end of the round – a sign of worse things to come.
Sanchez attacked the body in the second but, weathering the attacks, Grimaldo put on a clinic, ripping the local kid with big rights. Finding Sanchez’s head an all-too-easy target, Grimaldo challenged himself at the end of the round by attacking the body.
For the first minute of round three, Sanchez went to work on Grimaldo, who was kept on defense. That was Sanchez’s last stand for Grimaldo took over midway through the round, landing hooks to the body and bombs up top. One big right staggered Sanchez for the first time in his career and when his gloves hit the canvas, Ref Bayless ruled it a knockdown. Sanchez gathered his wits but remained in trouble during the remainder.
It was a miracle that Sanchez’s head remained attached to his body after the fourth round. Big rights and a left hook from Grimaldo had Sanchez’s head spinning in every direction, usually that opposite his body. Game to the core but sadly outclassed, Sanchez fought back.
Sanchez hit the canvas again early in round five and, after staggering one too many times from head shots, the referee called it quits at 1:30.
Salazar, Dennison draw in four
In a four-round super-bantamweight bout, Albuquerque’s Nohime Dennison (4-1-1) and Celina Salazar (3-0-1), of San Antonio, Texas, fought to a split draw.
Salazar landed the cleaner punches in the first, though Dennison was busier – just less effective. The second was closer, Salazar edging the stanza with the better shots.
Stalking Dennison, Salina’s in-fighting took the third. Unable to do anything in the pocket but clinch, Dennison proved ineffective at close range. In the fourth, however, Dennison’s work rate earned her points over Salazar, who took off the round.
The judges were split. Las Vegas, Nevada’s Dave Moretti scored it even, 38-38, while Albuquerque’s Anita Sanchez saw Salazar the winner, 39-37. Yet, somehow, Albuquerque’s Tom King scored every round for Dennison, 40-36, making it a draw.
This reporter had it 39-37 for Salazar.
Perez stops cage fighter
In a battle of Albuquerque lightweight debuters, boxer Yordan Hernandez Perez (1-0, 1 KO) outboxed cagey cage fighter Joshua Montoya (0-1), who took the fight on short notice to work on his stand-up game.
Montoya did better than expected, working nice counter left hooks in the first and second round while avoiding a slugfest with the superior hitter, but, in the end, Perez proved too much. With every advantage on his side, from size to reach to boxing experience, Perez’s aggression, jabbing and right hands wore Montoya down.
The cage fighter was down at the end of round two and, in the third, referee Rocky Burke waved off the fight when a tiring Montoya took too many shots.
Official time was 1:46, round three.