With a large vocal number of his workmates and patrons from his job at Jack Dempsey’s in the packed hall, Conlon walked into a short right hand that sent him crashing to the canvas, and ultimately determined the outcome of the fight, midway through the second round.
Though he was up in a flash and rallied back strongly in the third stanza the damage had already been done for the former Garda star who was representing the Rego Park-based Lost Battalion Hall.
His slow start in the first round meant that he had a mountain to climb after two heats and despite his third round dominance the fourth stanza was too close to call, which worked in Hauser’s favor.
The 19-year-old from the Fort Apache Boxing Club later received the P.C. Richard Boxer of the Night Award for his performance.
Conlon, who’s 25 and hails from County Mayo, was brutally candid after the loss, which ended his first foray in America’s premier amateur tournament.
“He was hitting so hard it threw me off,” he confessed. “I saw stars with every punch.”
Assistant trainer Steve Maiorano was equally in awe of the explosive punching Hauser, a 2001 Gloves winner. “I didn’t expect the other guy to be so strong,” he said. “If Dave had won the first and second rounds he could have taken it.”
With one win — via points over one Laurence Covington at the same venue last month — and a bye going into the quarterfinals, Conlon was tentative in the opening round, allowing Hauser to dictate the tempo.
Hauser, who was also a semifinalist at 147 pounds last year, had quick hands and peppered Conlon with double jabs, followed by straight rights at every turn. Conlon countered pretty effectively with hooks from both hands but was a tad less active than his foe.
He came into the fight at the start of the second round and had Hauser backing up with power punches when he stepped into a counter right thrown at close quarters by the retreating youngster.
It landed on the chin and left Conlon’s body at the mercy of gravity. Instead of winning a round he had been dominating, Conlon was suddenly two rounds down at the bell.
But there were words of wisdom from Lost Battalion Hall head trainer Tony Paolillo that sparked a fight-back in the third stanza. “I told Dave between rounds after the knockdown that it’s got no bearing on the fight unlike in the professionals. I kept telling him to get off [punch] first.”
Heeding Paolillo’s advice, Conlon came back in the third to the delight of the crowd and proceeded to maul Hauser from pillar to post with power punches. At one point before the bell, they slugged it out in the center of the ring, with Conlon getting the better licks in.
However, the fierce exchanges seemed to have drained both men, who threw all technique out of the window and spent most of the fourth and final round grappling in between brief flurries.
Hauser was complementary about Conlon’s effort. “He kept coming, but I held my ground. My trainer told me to go out there and box,” he said.
Said Conlon, whose senior amateur record fell to 46-6: “I have no complaints. I’m happy with the effort I put in. I always give it 100 percent.”
On the knockdown, he said: “I didn’t see the punch coming. I’ve been floored before but I always get up.”