WHETHER the sport of boxing is in rude health or not, whether the fights we want are happening or remain elusive, there will always be uncertainty attached to it. Boxing has its ups and downs – pun intended.

However, that uncertainty is not limited to the act of boxing, it includes the negotiations and everything else that occurs outside of the ring. This is not a jab at boxing, it’s merely an observation – from the point of view of a former fighter, current manager and longtime lover of the sport – of the way it’s always been.

The negative attachment to boxing is quite simply a consequence of the nature of the sport. Uncertainty – unpredictability – is woven into the sport’s structure.

We should be grateful that the corruption that once lingered is all but gone. Now when a fighter goes down, we don’t wonder if it’s because of connections to the mob and a fear of getting shot, like when Sonny Liston was ‘knocked out’ by Muhammad Ali in their 1965 rematch. Go back further to when Primo Carnera was active and fights being fixed were a regular occurrence. What we have today is almost unrecognisable to those times.

Yet certain concerns remain. Things that just don’t feel right.

The boxers who fail PED tests and the apparent subsequent bewilderment from the accused and their entire team, for example. We wonder how fighters fail tests yet nobody – not a single soul – can explain why.

There are the controversial decisions that defy logic like, in my opinion, the first Josh Taylor-Jack Catterall contest. But we have moved on. Think back to the first bout between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, the subsequent draw, and the court cases and FBI involvement that followed. Certainly, boxing has been cleaned up and is in a better place.

It’s far from perfect, however. Boxing’s lack of real global uniformity and unilateral institutional control has caused it to be exploited by those who take advantage of the cracks in the system.

That lack of governance can explain why the fights we want never happen. Simply, there is no body in place to order them. Mike McCallum never got his shot at Marvin Hagler, Lewis and Riddick Bowe never renewed their amateur rivalry. Even when those fights do happen, it’s often too late. Think of Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao.

Today, we hope that Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk isn’t proved to be a similar case in point. More so, at this point, we just hope it actually happens. Their undisputed heavyweight title fight has been on and off the table for a long time yet we started to really believe back in October when this publication reported that both fighters had at last signed a contract. The Promise was the headline on the cover. Yet, in boxing, promises are often broken.

Being a former heavyweight, I still have a keen interest in the division.

It is well documented that it has been 25 years since there was a solitary world heavyweight champion, the aforementioned Lewis, a man and fighter I know well. He beat me shortly before he conquered the world, taking my Commonwealth title in the process. Nowadays, our rivalry is consigned to a game of chess. We often discuss boxing and it nearly always ends up about the heavyweights.

On February 18, I was at the London Ex Boxers Association (LEBA) annual award luncheon. Where guest of honour, James Cook MBE received an award for his services as a long-time member of LEBA.

While at the luncheon, someone mentioned that we should have had a new undisputed heavyweight champion. The promises of Fury and Usyk should have been kept the night before. Another guest spoke of their anger and blamed Fury for pulling out, there were accusations that he wasn’t in shape and the cut eye was designed to engineer escape.

Conspiracy theory, I said. I was also disappointed that the fight had not happened, but I did not think that the cut was a set up.

Fury’s cut eye was genuine, make no mistake about that. It required medical attention; it was an unfortunate accident that happens. This is not the first time a fight has been postponed for similar reasons.

My concern, however, is that the May 18 rescheduled date might be too soon. Or, at least, the announcement of the new date came before anyone could possibly know if the injury would heal sufficiently in that timeframe. But with the money on the table, and the stipulations of the original contracts – the promise – I also understand why.

Scar tissue is a natural healing process of the body. It could take more than a year to heal to the point it won’t reopen on impact.

Tyson is a big heavyweight and can box, he has good ring general ship and knows how to win. I like his chances of defeating Usyk.

But the uncertainty here is big. Fury had a bad cut during his fight with Otto Wallin. Usyk is aware of that, he is smart. He will attack the eye.

There will be disappointment if the fight ends as a consequence. But, as ever, the speculation generates a buzz that is unique to our sport. That element of known, and the omnipresent uncertainty, is as much a blessing as it is a curse. It draws fans to the sport and it keeps them here, whether they admit it or not.

In boxing, nothing is ever certain.