Thank you, I’m glad you liked it!

No, I don’t have a particular face in mind for Moran in this story.  I don’t always imagine him as the same person from one story to another.  In this one, I suppose he would have to be fairly compact, since John fights as a welterweight, and the top weight in that category at the time was 147 lb.  Of course, sometimes you have surprisingly tall lanky guys who manage to fit into that weight category (Sherlock just manages to eke in at the top of that range).

In fact, John did technically win the match against Moran.  Moran was disqualified in that bout, because the move he used to damage John’s shoulder was a foul.  (It wasn’t a break; Moran tore John’s rotator cuff, which is an injury that athletes still have trouble coming back from even with today’s advanced medicine and physical therapy.) Thus, John was awarded the contest despite being unable to continue.

In this case, however, Sherlock was using the word ‘defeat’ in a broader sense.  Even the greatest boxers tend to have a few losses under their belts; it’s the nature of the sport.  John hasn’t won every match he’s ever fought, but Sherlock was speaking in a more permanent sense: the loss that finally takes John out of contention in the sport.

In boxing, each weight division has a champion, and then it has ten ‘contenders’—the fighters considered the top ten best boxers in their weight class besides the reigning champion, and thus the top ten ‘contenders’ for the championship.  John has never taken a championship, although there was a time when people thought it was inevitable.  In fact, Moran’s injury to his shoulder forced John to cancel a match he had scheduled about a month later against the champion at the time.

(There is an untold story to this, which will come out if I ever write the rest of this fic.)

Now, while John is still considered a contender and there are a lot of people who root for him (boxing loves its underdogs, and the sheer fact that he still boxes after an injury like that makes him a darling of many boxing fans), there’s a general consensus among the experts that he missed his shot, and that it’s only a matter of time before some hungrier, younger boxer knocks him off the top ten.

And in fact it has been a pretty brutal sport for him since his injury, because other fighters smell blood in the water around him.  His shoulder is seen as a weakness and gets targeted a lot, and many of his match offers in the past couple of years have been from ferocious young hopefuls who’re looking for a shot to break into the big names and think that he’s the weakest link.

So both Sherlock and Lestrade made very accurate assessments regarding John.

Meanwhile, almost everybody involved in boxing who’s come into contact with him virulently hates Sherlock.  It’s not only because of the usual reasons.  Boxing is a sport that has always had huge class connotations, and they can smell the money on him.  Sherlock’s attitude, accent, and arrogance all mark him as a snobbish dilettante interloper who has no right to be as good at this as he is.  Although…the press has begun to notice that Sherlock’s opponents have a tendency to come away actively afraid of him.  Due to various issues, it’s not uncommon for two fighters to be paired up a few times over the course of their careers—but it’s a rare boxer who seems to be willing to face Sherlock twice.  They talk almost like they were in the ring with something that wasn’t human.

Which makes it even more interesting to him that John is asking for a match below his reputation against a man known specifically for his almost supernatural precision in finding and exploiting his opponents’ weaknesses.  In fact, this is SUCH a good question that when the press gets wind of it, they’ll be asking themselves the same thing.

…You might be side-eyeing me right now and saying to yourself, “Self, PA sounds like she knows a lot more about this story than she’s letting on.”  And you would be right.  I have the whole thing roughly outlined (and interestingly I have not spoiled you on a single thing).  What’s holding me back is primarily the amount of frigging research this beast would take in order for me to pull it off the way I want.

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