If there is one thing that boxing does better than any other sport it is look the other way. Want proof?
In a truly bizarre start to the week, the Sun, one of my favourite newspapers (in a long list), ran two stories that perfectly fitted their style and agenda: both true, both sad, and both a bit hard to believe.
First there was the claim that Amir Khan's fight against Lamont Peterson in Las Vegas on Saturday week was hanging by a thread – for no specified reason – and that usually means the authors of the story know exactly why but can't say so for legal reasons. The truth emerged soon enough.
For hours on Twitter, there was fevered speculation that Peterson, who took Khan's light-welterweight belts off him in controversial circumstances in front of his home-town fans in Washington last December, had failed a drugs test.
This is dangerous territory. Without proof, the amateurs dived into the story on social networks. Paradoxically, they weeded out the truth because among those pushing was one of the better website boxing writers, Gabriel Montoya, and he was certain his sources were right. He even said: "If not, this could be the end of my career."
I rang Peterson's PR man, Andre Johnson, and he said: "I know nothing." It was not convincing. A few hours and hundreds of tweets later, he came clean in a statement that vindicated Montoya's story and admitted Peterson had failed a test. But there were no specifics, just a hand-wringing innocence.
"We have tremendous respect for Vada [Voluntary Anti-Doping Association] and its mission," the statement said, bearing all the hallmarks of spin and lawyering. "Lamont, [his trainer] Barry [Hunter] and the entire team emphatically support random drug-testing in the most comprehensive manner possible. We are working expeditiously with a team of pathologists and other medical specialists. Lamont has never had a positive test either before or after this isolated occurrence and we plan to submit medical findings by close of Tuesday, reflecting the actual facts in support of Lamont's good faith intentions and the requirements of the commission."
Tuesday is with us and we shall know soon enough the nature and strength of the defence. Will this jeopardise the rematch? Almost certainly not. For two good reasons. As I implied at the beginning, boxing has the sort of relationship with the truth that schoolboys have with their teachers. If you ever lost more than two grandmothers as an excuse for not doing your homework, you know where I'm coming from.
In boxing, morality is relative, lying an art form. Who cares if some guy has been caught by the drugs testers? Because Rule 2 in boxing expediency is that, whatever the crime or misdemeanour, the show goes on. If Peterson were to be punished, there would not be enough time to draft in a convincing opponent for Khan. There will be no late sub for a fight against a guy who doesn't have the titles anymore. It just wouldn't sell. So, for the time being, the 4,000 Brits who have already paid for flights, hotels and tickets should rest easy.
And that leads us on to the day's other Sun scoop — or, rather, full-page ad on behalf of one of its columnists. For days, there had been rumours that David Haye and Dereck Chisora would fight again, this time with gloves on, at Upton Park on 14 July.
I didn't believe it. Neither had a licence, a title, nor a big enough TV contract. I was wrong. Frank Warren not only writes an excellent weekly column that showcases his fighters and informs us of the shortcomings of some others, but he manages and promotes Chisora. He also has a TV station, BoxNation, dedicated exclusively to boxing and relying on the loyalty of subscribers. So far, it has done pretty well.
But, since parting company with Sky, Frank desperately needed a big fight to kick-start subscriptions again. Haye-Chisora was it. It had everything: two baddies who hated each other, who had been ostracised for brawling at a press conference and who were themselves running out of options to earn big money.
Inconveniently, the British Boxing Board of Control could not give a Haye-Chisora fight their stamp of approval, as the former had handed in his licence on his 31st birthday last year and the latter was suspended "indefinitely".
So Frank went to Luxembourg – not for the fish and chips but to pick up a governing body. The Luxembourg Boxing Association, although in existence since 1922, seven years before their British equivalent, put on fewer shows than most small towns but they were up for this gig. They will provide the officials and the paperwork for what will no doubt be a successful show in front of 40,000 fans in two months time.
Frank will still have to police what is expected to be a 40,000-strong crowd who will ram the place to watch two guys with distinct loathing for each other.
But should we watch? Again, we have an out: this is boxing. Park your conscience at the door and gaze at the two corners: in one there is as fighter who throttled the other while holding a bottle in his hand, then swung a camera tripod about so wildly he cut his own trainer's head, before going on the run from Munich police; in the other there is a man who slapped his last opponent's face at the weigh-in, spat in that fighter's brothers face before the bell, took his licks over 12 rounds and during the press conference alongside said conqueror, the spotless Vitali Klitschko, brawled with Haye.
Now that's the sort of behaviour that sells tickets. Frank Warren acknowledges as much. He has convinced himself this is a fight people want to see, and you pretty much know it's not got a lot to do with the art of the sport. It will be a tear-up, one for the bloodthirsty. It will be ugly.
It will get Warren quite a few new customers.
It will also bring boxing down a few notches. This is anarchy. The BBBoC will not be involved, nor will any of their officials. The board meets on Wednesday and must issue a definitive statement. It cannot stop Haye or Chisora fighting, as neither fighter currently holds a board licence. But it can say it disapproves.
This fight could well split boxing. If promoters and fighters are allowed to operate outside the control of the organisation of which they are willing members, what is to stop anyone ignoring the board in the future, refusing to pay their stewards, judges and referees, refusing to abide by their decisions on titles and rankings and carry on as if the entire history of regulation of the sport in this country meant nothing and wander off to form another "governing" body?
We will probably know by Wednesday.