The Show’s Over: Why I Quit The Boxing Clever Podcast

Posted: February 14, 2012 in Thoughts From The Brain

I am a huge fan of the Boxing Clever podcast. I interviewed Alex and Martin last year and it seemed like the show was going from strength to strength. The interview, (which you can read here) was the first piece on Write Cross and Martin himself now writes regularly for the site. It came as a huge surprise therefore when Martin emailed me in the week to tell me that he had quit Boxing Clever. After being asked countless times why, Martin has been kind enough to give his reasons behind ending one of the most popular boxing podcasts around.  George Ogier

By Martin Potter (formerly ‘The Brain’ of the Boxing Clever podcast)

As a Boxing Clever podcast host I am on the canvas, unable to beat the count having been floored by a potent combination of my own ambitions for the show (and myself) and my former co-host’s lack of them. Ok, maybe that is a little unfair on Reidy, my good friend and the man who has talked boxing alongside me for the past two years, but following many enquiries as to why we have decided to end Boxing Clever, I have decided to write this article to set the record straight…

Both Reidy and I loved doing the show. The two of us had for years, prior to the show’s inception, stood in pubs talking / arguing boxing and boring everyone around us. To have a few thousand people listening to us on a regular basis – and seemingly enjoying it – was not something I thought would happen, but it did and I have to thank Reidy for that; Boxing Clever was his idea.

Despite us both still enjoying making the show and each other’s company – we remain great friends – there were issues with how we saw the show progressing and how it had progressed to date. I was keen for the show to go up another couple of levels and for us to potentially have a big impact on the boxing scene in the UK; I wanted the big names in British boxing and the British boxing media to be aware of the show and of us. I wanted to promote the show and possibly get some big names to do the same, thus raising the show’s profile, our profiles and getting more listeners. In the long-term – and this perhaps was a pipe dream – I wanted to be able to make some money  in the boxing media as a result of the show. Reidy didn’t quite share my vision.

I am happy to admit that in the world of boxing I am a mere pigmy – Reidy aside, I have (or certainly had) no media / boxing connections. This meant that trying to promote the show or get interviews with high-profile fighters or fight figures was extremely difficult for me. I’d spend hours sending emails, sending tweets and making calls trying to drum up interest in the show – mostly to no avail. Getting no response from people who you look up to and have spent time and money following can be demoralising. My frustrations were doubled because I knew that my co-host, Reidy, was in a position to actively promote the show and get boxing people’s attention…

Since the show began in January 2009 Reidy has, in his day job, interviewed Amir Khan (2 or 3 times), Carl Froch, David Haye (at least twice), Nathan Cleverly, James DeGale, George Groves, Audley Harrison, Frank Warren, Lennox Lewis and more. Reidy acknowledged to me on a couple of occasions that his bosses would have no problem with him mentioning the show to the fighters / fight figures that he interviewed, or even getting a couple of quotes from them for Boxing Clever. Reidy mentioned the show to exactly NONE of these people! Reidy and I discussed this issue a few times and at first he said that he wanted to keep his day job separate from

the podcast – I was not happy with this, but respected his decision – so he never mentioned his job (or full name) on the show.

Later Reidy became (very slightly) more comfortable and started to mention his job on the show. I hoped this may lead to him starting to actively promote us to the boxers / fight personalities he encountered – it didn’t! To give Reidy his due, he did get us one short appearance in his publication (although didn’t want our names mentioned in association with it), a couple of years back, and did get Steve Bunce to talk to us (20 months ago), but that was about it. There was a time, 18 months ago when Reidy knew that I was in contact with Frank Warren’s press officer, desperately trying to get us an interview for the show – I failed. Shortly afterwards Reidy, in the course of his day job, actually got a comprehensive face to face interview with Mr Warren  – he made no mention of the show (or the interview I had been eager to get) to Frank. That annoyed me given the amount of work that he knew I had put in trying to get Frank to speak to me. I let it pass.

In November of last year Reidy and I had a serious discussion about the show. I stated all of my frustrations to him (as outlined above) and he provided his explanations. Reidy said that despite his bosses being fine with him promoting the show when talking to fighters, he felt that it was not a professional thing to do. Having read things that he has said about certain celebrities, alongside the fact that he has used quotes he obtained from fighters in articles separate from his day job, I find this reason slightly hard to swallow.

Another reason for him not getting us some quotes or interviews with fighters (or even telling them about the show)  is that he felt it would ruin our objectivity and leave him somehow in their debt. I can see the logic in Reidy’s point about objectivity – a big draw of our show was that we could say what we wanted without having allegiances to anyone. However, I did not want interviews every week, I just wanted the odd one now and again with a big name in order to boost the show’s profile and attract more listeners. I would not have changed my style and would loved to have asked questions that more sycophantic boxing shows are afraid to ask – maybe that’s what frightened Reidy!

The outcome of our November chat was a compromise, but things did not change and I felt I couldn’t work on the show with Reidy any longer without it damaging our friendship – something I didn’t want to happen. It just seemed ridiculous (to me) that I, a nobody, was scrambling around trying to promote the show, when Reidy could have helped push us on in a fraction of the time, with a fraction of the effort.

I realise that this article is somewhat critical of Reidy, but I also recognise my own short comings and the fact that I can be stubborn and over ambitious. Although I don’t agree with some of his decisions, I respect the fact that Reidy stuck to his guns – he is nearly as stubborn as I am! Ultimately I guess I wanted the show to help me break into the boxing media, but Reidy didn’t need the show to do that for him and enjoyed it for what it was, which is admirable in a way.

As for the future, Reidy and I remain friends (until he reads this article!) and will produce a farewell Boxing Clever. Also I may be back in the future in a different podcasting capacity – watch this space!

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Comments
  1. Johnny Rudge says:

    Very sad to hear of the demise of the podcast, which was always one of the first I’d turn to to get me through the work day. Completely understand the reasons and I hope to hear Martin chatting in my ear holes again soon. Good luck!

  2. Martin Potter says:

    Thanks Johnny. I’m sad to leave, but it had to be done. Neither Reidy or I were ‘wrong’, we just had different views and different ambitions. I am in talks about another show – non boxing related (well, it might have a bit of boxing) – and have considered carrying on the boxing talk, possibly still under the Boxing Clever name – but with someone else (I have Reidy’s blessing to do this; I wouldn’t do it otherwise)

  3. Miller says:

    Sad that the shows ending for the foreseeable but I would defo tune in to Boxing Clever in the future if you decide to continue. Although it would be a bit like High Flying Birds after Oasis, nice but missing the comedy rivalry between the two main protagonists! Thanks for putting it out there for us to listen to as a creditable alternative to Buncey who can be a bit full on at times! What should i be listening to to get my boxing fix in between times??

  4. Aled Roberts says:

    I’ll really miss what is the best boxing podcast on the web. I’ve spent many a long business journey or communte listening to you guys, always with a smile on my face and a genuine respect for your views and opinions …. views that have also kept my online boxing betting account pretty healthy, despite your amusing efforts to influence me not to bet on Tyson Fury!!
    If you decide to pull stumps or start afresh, good luck and many thanks!

  5. paul doherty says:

    Really sad to see you & Reidy’s podcast has come to an end. I have listened to every show! since it began (tuned in around epiode 5 and then caught the earlier ones!!). As a Boxing fan I was happy to hear a show dedicated to the sport (there wasnt much UK based boxing coverage around when you started off) But also enjoyed the friendly and funny banter you guys had and the honest opinions you gave- which were refreshing as most shows like sky or Buncey have an alliegance to certain fighters/promoters.

    I will miss the show a lot and would like to thank you guys for the effort and many hours of entertainment and boxing insights/news- and wish you all the best in future endeavours. Hope you get the show back one day!!

    Will check out your new podcast. Be handy if you could email me a link whenever its up n running

    Cheers, Paul Doh

    • Martin says:

      Thanks to all of you for your kind comments. We have really enjoyed doing the show and are glad so many people liked it. I will be coming back, I’m just not sure of when or how exactly yet.

  6. Brian says:

    Greetings from overseas Mr. Potter. I am very disappointed to hear about the show ending. I look forward to your next project and will surely be a loyal listener, as I have been for the past couple of years. Thanks for your hard work.

  7. Dev says:

    Gonna miss the show! It’s one I’d always look forward to. Hopefully Reidy will see sense and cater to all of your demands 😛 #praying

    Good luck brain!

    • Martin says:

      Thanks Brian, thanks Dev. I just hope the new show (non boxing) doesn’t bomb! I’m still considering my boxing podcast options.

  8. Mike says:

    I’m going to miss boxing clever. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the show and appreciate all the tome and effort you’ve put into it. I’ll be looking for the new podcast and hope you’ll continue talking about boxing one way or another. Many thanks and best of luck!

  9. ian says:

    I’m really gutted the show is over, it’s a real shame you guys didn’t see eye to eye on the shows potential- personally I think you had a good thing going and would have liked to see it develop. Cheers for all those amusing and informative hours of boxing talk. I for one will definitely miss listening in. Now to scour iTunes for a half decent podcast. Any suggestions? Cheers, ian

  10. wigster says:

    Very upset at the loss of boxing clever – always an super podcast – is there another British based podcast that can keep me updated? Any chance of something similar emerging from the flames?

  11. Stu Tucker says:

    Really gutted. I listened to every single one from day one. I didn’t always agree with everything you said, but wouldnt life be boring if everyone agreed! Hope to hear you back soon Martin.

    I’m really curious, are you able to say your average amount of show listeners?

  12. william defoe says:

    As a UK boxing fan I am absolutely gutted the boxing clever podcast is over – I download a lot of sports podcasts and there are few as interesting as boxing clever and none that I looked forward to more. There is no alternative that gets anywhere close to the quality of boxing clever in terms of entertainment – on the ropes is too US focused, Bunce’s London show is just interviews and little analysis, the only other broadcast worth bothering about is 5live boxing with the excellent Mike Costello and the aforementioned Steve Bunce which is very good but only on once in a blue moon (no Hatton reference intended!). There’s a real gap in the UK market for a football ramble-esque boxing podcast now that Boxing Clever is no more. I really do hope that the podcast makes it back in some form, and a big thanks to Reidy and the brain for their great chat and insightful analysis.

  13. Jonathan says:

    Real shame to see the podcast has ended. Thanks so much for your informative and entertaining patter. I’ll look forward to hearing your future work

  14. Teekosey says:

    How lame, sounds like your basically just jealous of Reidy’s career and pissed that he wouldn’t let you muscle in on it. Real shame, I enjoyed the show from the start and looked out for it ahead of other shows.

  15. Martin says:

    In response to Teekosey: Firstly I’m glad that you enjoyed listening to Boxing Clever and I am man enough to admit that you do have a point.

    I have a big ego, I would love to do Reidy’s job and I don’t think I’ve made any secret of that. As for me wanting to ‘muscle in’ on his career, I never tried to get Reidy to give me a job at his magazine – I have a career outside of the media. What I did want was for the show to become bigger and more succesful and I felt Reidy was in an ideal position to help us do that. He felt differently.

    I put a lot of time, money and effort into the podcast and I could have ended it without justifying my reasons to anyone. However I am an honest man and felt I owed it to our listeners to provide an explanation. You may disagree with my reasons but don’t tell me they are ‘lame’ (are you a 12 year old American?!) when you have not put the work in that I put in and when, by your own admission, I gave you hours of enjoyment for nothing.

    Anyway ‘have a nice day!’

    Martin

  16. Teekosey says:

    Maybe the show would have grown organically over time.. I’m sure you didn’t have ‘thousands of listeners’ for the first couple of shows. Especially as you clearly had a niche in the market. Reidy obviously didn’t want to jeopardise his job for what is essentially a hobby and i can see that view particularly in this current economical climate. As you say you were truthful and honest and we all know that isn’t commercial, that’s why puppets like johnny nelson continue to earn on tv. Anyway no hard feelings, and if it makes your ego feel any better i’m a 12 year old yank bird 🙂

    • Martin says:

      Teekosey: Again you make some valid points and I have no hard feelings towards you – everyone is entitled to their opinion.

      However one point you make is pertinent; to Reidy it was just a hobby which he didn’t want to take any further, to the extent that he admitted he would have turned down any offers to take the show on the radio etc. I wanted it to grow and become more than a hobby and with Reidy that would never have been possible.

      We did start ‘organically’ and didn’t get loads of listeners to start with, but although it grew, I felt we had plateud and needed a boost.

      In respect of Reidy’s career, he was told he could promote the show – he has been a close friend for 20 years and I would never ask him to risk his job. He just chose not to promote it to people in the industry.

      As I said, you may disagree with my reasons but try to understand them. Oh, and listen to
      my new show!

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