TYPICALLY, the more creative the lie, the less believable it becomes, yet the more I tend to respect the effort and the more likely it is I forgive it being told. Perhaps this owes to my own inability to lie with a straight face or mislead someone without being ravaged by guilt. Or perhaps I just admire any creativity these days, even if it involves deceiving me and wasting my time.

Whatever the answer, I thought a lot about this last Thursday (March 21). That was the day I checked in with heavyweight Mahmoud Charr ahead of his fight on March 30 against Kubrat Pulev. A man always happy to talk, Charr spoke to me at around 12.30 pm (UK time) and was quick to provide an update on his training, doing so with his usual charm and positivity.

“I feel really good,” Charr told Boxing News that afternoon. “The training has been good; I am ready. I am a positive person. I am happy to be back in the ring. What belongs to you, belongs to you, and Allah has given me my belt back.”

In order to hang on to that belt, a WBA “regular” heavyweight strap, Charr would have to get past a 42-year-old Pulev in front of Pulev’s fans in Sofia, Bulgaria. Asked whether that mattered to him, Charr, never lacking confidence, said: “My friend, I am cosmopolitan. I am a world fighter. I fight everywhere. It doesn’t matter to me. I am the ‘Arab German King’. I have German blood and Arab blood. I can fit in wherever I go.”

His plan for Pulev, he said, was quite simple. “For me, he (Pulev) is a great amateur boxer but not a strong professional,” explained the Lebanon-born German. “My plan is to make him quit in the fight. I will stop his career. He has had a great career, and I am happy he has another chance to fight for a world title and make history in Bulgaria, but I have to beat him. I want to fight many rounds against him to get that experience. But points or knockout, a win is a win for me. It doesn’t matter.”

After that, Charr, 39, reminded me that his nickname is “Diamond Boy”, suggesting it was therefore inevitable he would shine under pressure next week. He also expressed an interest in one day fighting in the Middle East and mentioned Tyson Fury as his ideal opponent. “My wish is only Tyson Fury,” he said. “He is the best heavyweight on the planet. I’m not looking for (Anthony) Joshua or any other UK fighter. I’m just looking for the king of the UK and that’s Tyson Fury, the ‘Gypsy King’.”

Mahmoud Charr (Martin Rose/Getty Images)

All in all, Charr sounded his usual self: ambitious, determined, and slightly delusional, albeit in the best way. He sounded, in other words, like any boxer you call 10 days before a big fight and ask to express themselves in the hope they will make it interesting and deliver a decent quote or two.

This Charr did, and without much prompting, which is why it came as a surprise when that same day, just four hours after speaking with him, I discovered Charr was nowhere near as prepared to fight Kubrat Pulev as he had earlier claimed. In fact, quite the opposite. Whereas before Charr had told me he felt “really good” and was “happy” to be back in the ring, the truth was this: Charr, according to boxing scribe Dan Rafael, was going to spend that afternoon having surgery on an injured arm.

Which meant, in effect, I had succeeded in catching Charr just before he went in for his operation and been no more than the recipient of a tall tale, one designed to perhaps put me off the scent or simply amuse Charr while he waited to be put under. Either way, it was a truly bizarre turn of events, particularly when, upon hearing the news, I called Charr back for confirmation – or, better yet, an explanation – and found his phone was switched off. Was he, I thought, now actually being operated on, hence the sudden radio silence? I tried him again the following day and this time the phone rang but nobody picked up. I knew then what had happened.

It gets weirder, too. On March 19, for example, two days before our interview, there had been an announcement that the fight between Charr and Pulev was going to be picked up by DAZN, only Dan Rafael claimed that Charr’s injury – a rupture of his biceps tendon – had been the result of a sparring session on Monday, March 18. If that’s true, why did they wait to call things off? Why were there still so many mixed messages? Why does the WBA “regular” heavyweight belt seem cursed? Why does it even exist?

Eventually, a statement from EC Boxing explained: “Mahmoud Charr underwent surgery and will be able to slowly start putting strain on his arm again in about six weeks.” In the meantime, Pulev is going to fight Ihor Shevadzutskyi on March 30 and a recovering Charr will try to get ready for a new date, possibly in September.

As for me, crippled already by trust issues, I don’t know who or what to believe anymore. Indeed, only the respect I have for Charr managing to stick to his story and sell it so well enables me to see the funny side of what transpired and admire Diamond Boy’s ability to polish something cracked and fraudulent and have me pay for it. “You have my number,” he said to end our conversation, “so please send me the article when it is published, my friend.”