Archive for the ‘Thoughts From The Brain’ Category

By Martin ‘The Brain’ Potter @theboxingbrain

AHDHThe tripod throwin’, trash talkin’, toe breakin’, thunderous punchin’ typhoon – otherwise known as David ‘Hayemaker’ Haye – is, seemingly, set to return to boxing this summer. And I, for one, am delighted.

Although not the best heavyweight (that honour belongs to his conqueror Wladimir Klitschko) or the biggest, David Haye is the most intriguing, charismatic big man out there; he is also the one British fighter, in any weight class, still capable of bringing casual fans to the table. Whilst world (and former world) champions Froch, Khan and Burns have struggled at times to fill indoor arenas, connect with fans or secure quality TV and mainstream press coverage (although, thankfully and rightly, Froch now seems to have broken through), Haye can sell out football stadiums in non-title bouts and provide copious amounts of copy for hungry hacks.

David’s detractors (Haye-ters?!) will point to his crass antics and arrogant attitude. Severed heads on t-shirts and broken bottles were not particularly endearing to the general public. But the truth is that they served their purpose, made Haye (and others) a lot of money and put boxing back in the spotlight. Boxing – more than any other sport – has always had, and needs, pantomime villains, good guys and bad guys. For straight-laced Klitschko, the flip side is ‘wild’ Haye, for respectful Pacquiao we have arrogant showman Mayweather; opposing characters, as well as opposing fighting styles are what draws fans to the fight game.

The other thing – the most important thing – that excites me about Haye’s comeback is the fact that the boy can fight. Has he actually proved it at heavyweight? Well, he has KO’d every heavyweight opponent he has faced bar two. One of these men was over seven feet tall (to former cruiserweight Hayes six feet, three inches) and an undefeated world champion – Haye won on points and shook him to his boots in the process. The other was the best heavyweight on the planet, whom Haye lost on points to. Yes Haye was disappointing in that bout and yes his excuses were a little lame (as was he, big broken toe an’ all), but he still pushed Klitschko harder than many others have in recent years – despite a huge size disadvantage.

Haye held three belts at cruiserweight, was a world amateur silver medallist and held the WBA heavyweight title. He has proven pedigree at the very top-level. Also he is not old for a heavyweight and is certainly not shop-worn, having had fewer than thirty fights. In my opinion Haye has the tools to beat any heavyweight out there; speed, power, athleticism and ability – a rare combination in the current climate.

The biggest issue will be Haye himself and how much he really wants it. One fight a year and a few TV appearances do not a truly great heavyweight make. Haye will do himself and his abilities a disservice if he doesn’t make a serious run, and some serious cash, through the current crop of heavyweights – just imagine the hype surrounding a Tyson Fury stadium fight.

The Hayemaker is ‘bad’ in some people’s eyes, he is good for British boxing in others. Ultimately though, whether you like him or hate him, you will watch David Haye. And if we all watch David Haye, well, that can only be good for boxing.

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Why supporting Britain’s most talented fighter can be a chore…

By Martin ‘the Brain’ Potter of the One More Round podcast

Many British boxers in recent history have polarised the opinion of the public. Chris Eubank’s English gent act – complete with cane and monocle – delighted some but was derided by others, whilst David Haye’s potent combination of trash talking and bravado brought him love and hate in almost equal measure. The often extreme behaviour of both men ensured big box office and a firm direction for supporters to take – you either loved what they were about or you didn’t, yet the behaviour of the current marquee name in British boxing – Amir ‘King’ Khan – leaves me, and many others, with a strange dilemma; do I get behind him or not?

Amir Khan is without doubt an extremely talented (although still highly flawed) fighter. As a young Olympic medal winner Khan’s talent aligned to his seemingly humble and likeable nature shone through. Aside from the case of a few mindless racist idiots, Amir was the British Muslim fighter who could unite communities and was loved by Brits of every conceivable denomination (over 6 million viewers tuned into to watch his final amateur fight following the 2004 Olympics). Although Amir was confident – you have to be to be successful in the fight game – he didn’t display the arrogance of his hero Prince Naseem Hamed. At the outset of his professional career I was behind Khan all the way. But then things changed…

As Amir has risen through the boxing ranks he has retained only some of the charm that initially endeared him to the public, usually coming across as amiable in pre-planned interviews. But on a number of occasions – certainly within the past two years – he has also shown a hot-headed immaturity (in and out of the ring) alongside a burgeoning arrogance and strangely contradictory moral compass that has led many British fight fans to turn against him.

The most recent example of Amir Khan’s rash behaviour centres around potential British rival Kell Brook – the talented Sheffield welterweight who is on the verge of cracking the world scene. Kell realises that at this stage Amir is a level above him in terms of fame and achievement and, as talented ambitious boxers do, he has made it clear that he wants to fight Khan – nothing wrong with that. Khan though seems to be strangely affronted by the challenge from Brook and rather than answering him in the ring or even engaging in a bit of standard trash talk, such as ‘I’d knock him out’ etc, he has taken to trashing Kell Brook’s character.

On Twitter recently Amir Khan stated that he would not fight Kell Brook because he alleged that Kell had taken illegal substances recreationally (not of the performance enhancing type) and had been involved in out of ring altercations. Amir stated that this behaviour was undisciplined and unprofessional and as such he would not fight him. If Amir’s claims were true – I note he has now removed these comments from his Twitter feed and there does not appear to be a shred of evidence to support them anyway – then perhaps you could applaud Amir for making such a noble moral stand. However, in the next message Khan was naming Floyd Mayweather – the man who is shortly to begin a jail term for domestic violence – as a potential future opponent. I’m confused Amir, is discipline and professionalism outside of the ring a prerequisite to fight you or not? (It should also be noted that Amir stated that Brook fights at 147, whereas he was still at 140, meaning they couldn’t fight anyway. Last time I checked Floyd was due to fight Cotto at 154!)

In addition to Amir’s Brook bashing, the manner in which he took defeat to the humble, hard-working Lamont Peterson was hardly sporting. Although there was some debate about the outcome (it was a close back and forth fight with a couple of questionable decisions), the fact is that Amir Khan fought an extremely poor tactical contest in which he allowed his heart to rule his head. Although Freddie Roach has acknowledged this, Khan himself has laid the blame for his defeat on men in hats and conspiracy theories. He should have taken defeat like a man, let others draw their own conclusions and then proved himself again in the ring.

The truth is that Amir Khan should be one of the most loved sportsmen in Britain at the present time. He has undoubted boxing ability, charisma and an audience who he held in the palm of his hand following Olympic success. It’s a huge shame that boxing fans in Britain are turning against him. Perhaps Amir has been badly advised following his split from Frank Warren, perhaps Amir will mature (he is still only young), but more than anything hopefully Amir Khan will learn that sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and let your fists do the talking!

To hear more of my ill-informed views on a wide range of subjects from sport to Stallone you can tune into my new show, the One More Round podcast on iTunes (search ‘One More Round podcast’) or at www.onemoreroundpod.com You can also contact me on Twitter @theboxingbrain or @onemoreroundpod or via email at onemoreroundpod@gmail.com.


By Martin ‘the Brain’ Potter of the One More Round podcast

Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua

With the London Olympics fast approaching and the Great Britain boxing squad looking possibly the strongest it’s ever been going into a major tournament, the expectation is that following the games a plethora of British boxing talent will explode onto the professional scene, bringing with it an avalanche of success. Whilst I do think the likes of Anthony Joshua, Tom Stalker and co have massive potential should they decide to punch for pay, the pitfalls of turning professional after a successful amateur career can not be ignored…

The highest profile casualty and most obvious example of an amateur medallist flat-lining in the professional ranks has to be the 2000 Olympic super-heavyweight champion Audley Harrison. ‘A-Force’, as big Audley took to calling himself, was a marketing man’s dream after he struck gold in Sydney; huge, talented, smart, ambitious and full of (misguided) confidence. Audley told the world that he would turn his Olympic medal into a professional world title and the world believed him. The BBC – who has since cast professional boxing into the sporting wilderness – believed in Harrison so much that they handed him a one million pound ten fight deal and afforded him the luxury of choosing his own opponents. Big mistake.

After a series of terrible fights, in which Harrison refused (or was unable), to relinquish his jab and grab amateur style, old ‘Auntie’ Beeb jettisoned Audley, and seemingly boxing, for good. And Harrison, as we all know, never did win a genuine world belt, although if you measure success in cash earned then I concede that he did do rather well for himself. In Audley’s case it simply seemed to be a matter of styles. As an amateur fighting in three round contests with a headguard – where pitter-patter punches are valued over rugged aggression – Harrison was able to employ his long jab, hold up close and not worry about the rough stuff. After switching codes Audley soon found lesser skilled fighters could compete with him through sheer force of will and a desire to inflict pain. Audley didn’t like being punched in the face.

It is not only Audley Harrison who found the transition from the vest to the chest difficult. Of the Olympic class of 2008, which included such luminaries as James DeGale (gold), Frankie Gavin (pulled out, but 2007 amateur world champion) and David Price (bronze), none have so far fought at world level, with only DeGale getting up to British and European title standard. Of the three, Frankie Gavin’s development has been the most frustrating to watch. Perhaps the most gifted amateur fighter that Great Britain has ever produced, Gavin has spent more time and effort fighting his personal demons than opponents in the ring – I can only hope that he has now truly turned the corner and will fulfil his vast potential. As for DeGale, he now seems set for legal wrangling with current / former(?) promoter and manager Frank Warren which could potentially keep him out of the ring for a while, whilst Price is still at least a year away from world level (by his own admission).

So is the weight of expectation placed upon high-profile amateur fighters who turn pro too much? Has the Harrison effect ruined it for everyone?

Audley Harrison

My feeling is that to be a successful world champion in a sport as unforgiving as boxing you need to be extremely mentally tough. Therefore if you can’t handle the expectation then it unlikely that you would have the mental capacity to be a world champion anyway – Audley Harrison falls into this category. David Haye and Carl Froch both bagged amateur world championship medals and both went on to pick up titles as pros; both men are blessed with a mental toughness that matches their physical attributes. Haye is also rather handy with a tripod…

Perhaps it is unfair to ask if Harrison ruined things for future amateur medallists seeking to forge a career in the pro game as in many ways the BBC is just as culpable. Instead of accepting the fact that they made a mistake with the way in which they dealt with Audley and going back to the drawing board, the BBC instead cut all ties with professional boxing – in TV terms at least. Yet now, a decade later, ‘Auntie’ has the cheek to call up British boxing’s biggest players for a radio debate on ‘the future of boxing’. Unbelievable! If the BBC gave boxing a chance then I’m certain there would be even more amateur fighters gunning for London 2012, in the knowledge that professional super stardom, as opposed to pay-per-view obscurity, awaited them.

My conclusion is that amateur boxing is a good barometer of boxing ability but perhaps not so great a guide to a fighting heart. When you have genuine amateur pedigree and success and are also able to combine this with heart, mental fortitude and determination, the likelihood is that you will become a successful professional boxer. I sincerely hope that our 2012 representatives fall into this category and become more Amir than Audley. Good luck!

To hear more of my ill-informed views on a wide range of subjects from sport to Stallone you can tune into my new show, the One More Round podcast at www.onemoreround.libsyn.com or you can download back episodes of my old boxing show at www.boxingclever.libsyn.com or via iTunes (search Boxing Clever podcast). You can also contact me on Twitter @theboxingbrain or @onemoreroundpod or via email at onemoreroundpod@gmail.com.

Why Chisora and Haye are a couple of Haytemakers

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

In the aftermath of the Haye – Chisora press conference brawl, the knowing smirk on Vitali Klitschko’s face said it all; what a pair of idiotic clowns these two British heavyweight world title wannabes are. Both Dereck Chisora and David Haye were soundly beaten in their respective bouts with Vitali and Wladimir – following classless pre-fight antics towards the dignified champions – yet here they were arguing over who should get the next crack. The answer of course, in a sane boxing universe, should be neither. If fighters were rated on trash talk and even trashier behaviour then Haye and Chisora would be flying high in the pound for pound ratings, with the mundane Ukrainian brothers K languishing in mediocrity. Fortunately boxing is not quite in that place yet, but with Haye and Chisora trying to drag it there, I take a look at the protagonists in this sorry story…

First up let’s consider David Haye. This is a talented fighter whose career, if I’m being hyper critical, could be described as one long publicity stunt punctuated by a few decent performances. Such is the warmth of the talk that emits from Haye’s big mouth, I’m certain he could inflate a fleet of hot air balloons. The only thing bigger than Haye’s mouth is his ego. On Saturday the combined might of said mouth and ego were in full effect, with Haye  turning up at a press conference that he had no reason to be at, trying to bag a fight (with Vitali) he has no right to get. The irony is that instead of talking himself into a fight (his tried and tested method); it seems that Haye has now fought himself out of one.

If Haye had put as much effort into his fight with Wladimir as he does with hyperbole, then maybe he would warrant a fight with Vitali. The fact is that Haye’s last performance was poor, especially when weighed against his pre fight promises. Haye then pretended to retire (a sham designed to save face and a cynical attempt to try to force another Klitschko fight) and in light of these things I believe that if he wants a rematch he should earn it with his fists by fighting some other contenders (in the ring!), not by spouting his mouth (it’s getting boring David!)

The saving grace for Haye in the whole brawl fiasco is that despite his history of crass comments and pre fight stunts, he has never been involved in a violent incident like this previously. The same can not be said for Del Boy…

To use the title of a well-known film, Dereck Chisora has a ‘history of violence’ (although maybe ‘one flew over the cuckoos nest’ would be more appropriate). A conviction for a violent altercation with a girlfriend, a boxing ban for biting an opponent, trying to incite both Vitali (with the slap) and Wladimir (with the spit) and now this – it would appear that all is not ‘luvvly jubbly’ in Del Boy’s head.

In some respects I feel for Chisora… Ok, hear me out… For the past 18 months he has been treated like a disposable plaything by the Klitschko brothers. One minute a fight’s on, then it’s off, then on, then off and then on again. The mighty Klitschko machine chewed him up and spat him out – no wonder he was slightly bitter. Whilst the Klitschko brothers could certainly teach both Chisora and Haye some manners, they could also throw in some lessons on how to use far more subtle, but just as effective, gamesmanship. Chisora, a man with a hair-trigger temper, was always going to react badly when the pressure was on – that is exactly what happened.

The real big shame for Del Boy though is that although he handled the out of ring shenanigans extremely badly, his stock as a boxer should be at an all time high following a brave, committed performance that (in my opinion) put Haye’s lacklustre effort against Wlad to shame. But anything achieved in the ring by Del Boy on Saturday night is sadly outweighed by everything he did out of it (and in it, if you count the spitting incident). His stock as a professional and as a man has fallen faster and harder than a Larry Holmes drop kick!

The behaviour of Haye and Chisora was reprehensible, but does it really warrant the indignant moral outrage from middle class Mail readers who wouldn’t know a boxing ring from a Hula Hoop? Saturday’s events were not a boxing problem or a true reflection of the sport I love, they were just two macho idiots fuelled by ego and adrenalin. Yes it was bad, yes it was distasteful and yes, I have little time for these men, but life time bans? Banning boxing? Really?

Was John Prescott banned from politics when he punched a protester? Were the houses of parliament torn down when greedy politicians were caught out claiming for money that belonged to taxpayers, all the while telling said taxpayers to tighten their belts? Was any one jailed for invading Iraq and killing thousands on the premise of a lie?! Sorry to get all political, but the Chisora – Haye brawl needs perspective – it was two men caught up in the heat of the moment having a fight. It wasn’t big, it wasn’t clever and both should be punished, but within reason.

Many promoters have come out and said they would not promote a Haye against Chisora fight. Many promoters are not always entirely honest. Whilst David Haye and Dereck Chisora have dragged the name of boxing into the gutter, they have made it (and themselves) front page news. A Chisora – Haye fight might be clouded in controversy should it ever happen (for the record, I don’t think it will) but it would also be clouded in cash. Vitali Klitschko may have had a knowing smirk on his face in Munich, but if Chisora and Haye do fight (in the ring) then I think it will be a British promoter of the not entirely honest variety who has the last laugh…

You can hear more boxing thoughts from me on Twitter @theboxingbrain. You can also catch the last episode, featuring more Haye – Chisora talk (and all previous episodes), of the Boxing Clever podcast at http://www.boxingclever.libsyn.com/ or on iTunes.

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!

By Martin ‘The Brain’ Potter of the Boxing Clever Podcast

Greed, power, money and ambition; these are all words that can easily be associated with any big business, in any industry, in any country in the world, and the top players in any business will, rightly or wrongly, be labelled with the aforementioned words. Whilst boxing may not quite be on a par with technology and it may be pushing it to compare Frank Warren to Lord Alan Sugar, the fact remains that big time boxing equals big bucks, and there is no bigger player in British boxing promotion than Mr Warren. So why have so many headline fighters decided to leave Frank – in seemingly acrimonious circumstances – over the years?

There can be no question that Frank has any trouble in charming British boxing’s brightest prospects to his stable. His list of past clients reads like a who’s who of fighting greats from these shores; Calzaghe, Hatton, Hamed, Benn, Khan, DeGale and more. And in fairly recent events he saw off the most recent challenger to his throne, the younger and more media friendly Essex boy, Eddie Hearn, to secure the signature of George Groves. The initial charm it seems, still works.

With Frank’s initial capturing of his boxing based prey must come promises of wads of cash and world title shots and it has to be said that he does usually deliver. Over the years Frank Warren has secured world titles and helped preserve unbeaten records for many deserving – and some undeserving – fighters. He took a badly defeated Amir Khan and got him a golden chance to claim the belt against arguably the weakest champion in the division, only to be unceremoniously dumped when Golden Boy came calling. He provided James DeGale with the ideal opportunity to redeem himself following his British title losing effort against George Groves by bagging him an immediate tilt at the European belt, yet DeGale is also unhappy (ironically it seems due to a disagreement over the first defence of said European belt). Hell, Frank Warren even secured a world heavyweight title fight for Dereck Chisora, despite the fact that ‘Del Boy’ has lost two of his last three bouts (admittedly the second defeat shouldn’t have been) – Will Del dump Frank if he strikes gold?!

So if Frank Warren can get fighters to sign initially and can then deliver on his promises by delivering title shots – and presumably the money that goes with them – even when the odds are stacked against him, then the question remains; why have the likes of Calzaghe, Hatton, Khan et al left? Do they get greedy? Does Frank Warren suddenly turn from friendly fight finder to tough taskmaster?

In most of the cases mentioned I would liken the situation to a first serious relationship. Like a young couple, Frank and the fighter enjoy a honeymoon period when nothing can go wrong. However, as time wears on the fighter realises that there are other options out there and wonders if someone else could better satisfy their lust (in this case for fame and fighting, not fornicating!) There is a spat, family often get involved (especially in the cases of Hatton, Khan and Hamed), the warring couple split, and then the accusations start to fly. In some cases, like a bitter divorce, the case ends up in court and money changes hands.

As someone who values loyalty, and given the investment that Frank Warren (or indeed any promoter) makes – not just financially, but in terms of hard work, time and faith – I don’t particularly like it when a boxer who has won belts and made many thousands (or millions) decides to ditch a promoter for no apparent reason other than cold hard cash. A prime example of this would be Joe Calzaghe. Anyone who has listened to my show or read any of my articles will know that I am a massive fan of Calzaghe – a boxer whom I believe is the best Britain has ever produced. Yet despite my admiration for his achievements, I don’t think Joe was in the right to leave Warren. Although Joe was happy with Frank for well over a decade, encompassing 45 fights and numerous titles, and despite the fact that Warren stuck by him through all the injuries and pull outs, in his final bout Joe decided to ditch Frank Warren. This was seemingly for one reason and one reason only – money. Granted, Calzaghe did win a court case against Frank, but if Joe hadn’t have ditched Frank to pursue a fight with Roy Jones Junior – a man so shot that Joe had previously said he’d never fight him – then I don’t think any of the problems would have arisen in the first place.

Reading this you might think that I am totally pro Warren and pro promoters in general; this is not strictly the case. To get to the top (and stay there) in a business as harsh as boxing, you need to be ruthless and I’m under no illusion that Frank Warren is an angel. Indeed the common denominator – money aside – in these splits is Frank himself. Yet I can’t help thinking that as a boxer becomes more successful and gets more people whispering in his ear, the greed, ambition, hunger for power and hunger for money override any sense of loyalty. Maybe it is right that a man putting it all on the line in the ring should be able to do business outside the ring as he sees fit. But then maybe promoters like Frank Warren are also putting it all on the line, just in a different way (or perhaps in the same way, given that Frank nearly paid for his life purportedly for boxing related reasons).

Like Lord Sugar, Frank Warren is a streetwise entrepreneur who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Unfortunately for Frank, unlike in the case of Lord Sugar, it seems to be the employees as opposed to the employer saying “You’re fired!”

To hear more boxing opinion and poor attempts at humour from ‘The Brain’ listen to the 5 star rated Boxing Clever Podcast, available on iTunes or at http://www.boxingclever.libsyn.com/ .You can also follow me on Twitter @theboxingbrain and @boxingcleverpod or you can email me at boxingcleverpodcast@gmail.com.

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

Over the past couple of years one British fighter – Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch – has stood out as he strived to test himself more than any other fighter from these shores. Forgot the hyperbole surrounding his flashier, more boastful and media aware colleagues, Amir Khan and David Haye; it’s the no-nonsense warrior from Nottingham who has trod the hardest path in boxing – you’ll find no broken toes or ‘hat men’ here! Bouts for Haye with the likes of Audley Harrison, or Khan with the likes of Paul McCloskey, pale in comparison alongside the unprecedented run of tough match-ups that Froch has faced against past, present and future world champions.

However, despite Carl’s monumental efforts since his title-winning slugfest with Jean Pascal in 2007, he is now 34, no longer a world champion and coming off the second defeat – and the first real decisive one – of his storied career. Talks with the undefeated IBF champion Lucian Bute have seemingly flat-lined as the Canadian based Romanian’s television paymasters insist he instead face Carl’s conqueror, Andre Ward. The prospect of a rematch with the aforementioned, sublimely gifted, American Super Six champion is highly unlikely for the foreseeable future, given the outcome of the first fight. Therefore the question that has to be asked is; where does Carl Froch go next?

Froch’s promoter, Matchroom’s new ‘face of boxing’ Eddie Hearn, has gone on record (well, Twitter…) to categorically state that Carl will not move up to light heavyweight and face Nathan Cleverly, one of Britain’s two reigning world champions (a title I use lightly given the fact that the Welshman won a vacant belt and has never actually fought a genuine world level fighter). Despite my reservations about Cleverly’s standing as a world champion, I do believe that he is a big talent, an exciting fighter to watch and in my opinion a bout against Froch would provide both fireworks and an indication of the respective levels of both men. It’s a fight I’d love to see and I am slightly puzzled by Hearn and Froch’s reluctance to take it.

The reasons behind my bemusement at Hearn’s fairly hard stance on Carl not moving up to fight Cleverly are numerous. Firstly the fight would make both men a lot of money and cause a massive amount of interest for British boxing. Secondly the fight would provide Froch with a great opportunity to become a two weight world champion (it’s certainly a winnable fight for him) and get one over on his nemesis Joe Calzaghe (Joe never actually won one of the ‘big four’ belts at light heavy, although he did annex the Ring belt). Thirdly, although Froch has never indicated a struggle to make super middleweight, he was previously keen to step up and face Calzaghe – I’m sure he’d even do so now if Joe would accommodate him – and has also talked about a Pascal rematch, so why not against Cleverly? Finally, with Bute and Ward both seemingly out of the picture, who else is there?

As Carl and Mr Hearn have insisted against him moving to light heavy and the top two fighters at super middle will most likely face each other, there are only a few options left open for Froch – at least for his next couple of bouts. Rematches with either Mikkel Kessler or Andre Dirrell are possibilities and a fight with Kessler would be sure to be entertaining, although the Dane is a little past his peak. A fight with Robert Stieglitz, the WBO champion who Kessler is soon to face, might be an option for later in the year if the German comes through – although I can’t see Carl volunteering to face a German champion in Germany, for reasons that I don’t need to spell out. Karoly Balzsay, another German based fighter, holds the ‘regular’ WBA belt – whatever that means – and doesn’t have a fight lined up, so maybe Froch could pick up another title there (although perhaps a slightly cheap one).

What is clear to me is that Carl Froch could still compete and beat most of the fighters left in the super middleweight division, even at the age of 34; what is equally clear is that if you remove Ward and Bute from the equation then there are not a great deal of exciting match ups to be made (the likes of DeGale and Groves are still too raw for an animal like Froch). At light heavyweight there are fights to be made; Cleverly, Hopkins, Dawson, Pascal, Cloud et al.

Throughout his career Carl Froch has continuously ‘stepped up’ to face the best fighters on the planet – a feat he must be admired for. Now I’d love to see him step up – this time in weight – and make the final flickering lights of his fabulous fighting career shine brighter than Eddie Hearn’s tan!

To hear more boxing opinion and poor attempts at humour from ‘The Brain’ listen to the 5 star rated Boxing Clever Podcast, available on iTunes or at http://www.boxingclever.libsyn.com/ .You can also follow me on Twitter @theboxingbrain and @boxingcleverpod or you can email me at boxingcleverpodcast@gmail.com.