In the days after Terence Crawford's win over Jeff Horn in Las Vegas, once the dust and the swelling had started to settle, the Australian finally had time to wander the casino floors and indulge in a few hands of poker.
The signs promoting the fight at the MGM Grand were being peeled off the walls and the sides of slot machines. Horn could slink back into relative anonymity, which suited him just fine given the relentless promotional schedule on which he'd just embarked.
By this stage, Crawford was already back in Nebraska, Horn's WBO welterweight belt in tow, and preparing for a media blitz of New York City as ESPN's new star continued to rise. They are desperate for him to show, or find, some personality to match his ringsmarts.
Horn, meanwhile, had been written off as a bum that was outclassed and had little reason to show his head in the division again. It was an hysterical hot take, typical of the US social media warriors, as was the home-grown notion he should simply beat up Anthony Mundine then retire at the age of 30 with 21 pro fights.
On a family holiday in Canada, Horn had a chance to take a breath after his title fight, when he was stopped in the ninth round against a man who only bolstered his credentials as the best – and probably the baddest as well – boxer in any division.
It should also be a chance for Horn's fans, his critics, his handlers and his promoters to step back and decide what's next for a boxer who came from nowhere to beat Manny Pacquiao, defended once, then had his colours lowered in clinical style by a merciless and almost sadistic Crawford.
Not everyone in the US believes Horn to be a lost cause. A leading figure in Top Rank, Bob Arum's promotional company, reached out to the Horn camp some days after the fight to help lift the spirits.
Lasting nine rounds against a fighter of Crawford's ilk, they reminded them, might well be the benchmark for a long time in the 147-pound division. He may have taken a pounding but even forcing some close rounds against 'Bud' suggests Horn has plenty to offer against elite fighters who don't happen to be future Hall of Famers.
It is a deep division and there has been little to suggest Horn doesn't want to force his way back to the title table over the next few years. He wants to retire early, yes, but not after a beyond-meaningless bout against Mundine, which the former schoolteacher would win with ease.
It would probably make him a decent purse? But talk of $2 million at this point remains fantasy. It's not a stadium fight and there is no bad blood whatsoever between the pair to fan interest. Horn is terrible at trash talking at the best of times. He's too nice of a bloke.
There is little rush, anyway, and the Horn camp should use the break to analyse their performance in the lead-up and even during the Crawford fight. It was an immense learning experience for his trainer Glenn Rushton and the rest of the team. They must be better for it should the US come calling again.
Rushton has done wonders with Horn, encouraging his awkward styling and helping him overcome a great such as Pacquiao so early in his pro career. Yet he too must analyse his fighter in the cold light of day and step back from the mythology they have created around his fabled toughness.
Rushton is a great motivator and presses all the right buttons with Horn. But framing everything as 'a battle of wills' won't be enough to compete with someone such as Crawford. It's no use leaving your soul in the ring if you can't land a meaningful punch.
Toppling Pacquiao was the best and worst thing that could happen to Horn. His chin is something else but he's not made of iron. Crawford delighted in proving that point.
The day after taking a kicking, Horn was kicking himself. He knew he needed to make some adjustments in there instead of being endlessly urged to charge forward, more often than not being whacked in the face for his troubles.
Crawford had him worked out by the second round. Something needed to change and on that front, perhaps Horn has to be more assertive with those handing out his riding instructions. He's managed to improve with every fight and must emerge from the loss with extra strings to his bow.
Horn's story has been a great one for boxing and Australian sport. But there's no room for sentiment in the fight business and the fairytale of the bullied teacher that made good must now be put to rest, for the moment at least.
Horn's next few moves must all be aimed at proving he can be a dangerous opponent in a division that has no shortage of intriguing opponents. And if he does fight Mundine, he must be prepared to wear the scorn of genuine fight fans before he trousers the cash.