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!