SINCE taking over as Sky’s Head of Boxing in 2010, Adam Smith has overseen plenty of changes – not least in the commentary team that he now spearheads. Here, Smith tells Boxing News his thoughts behind recruiting the team that now exists, and how he selects his army of co-commentators and analysts – which includes Johnny Nelson, Carl Froch and Paulie Malignaggi.
“Ian Darke told me that when he first started interviewing Glenn [McCrory] when he was just becoming a world champion, he saw something in him. And I saw something in Johnny [Nelson], back in the days of Naseem Hamed and Ryan Rhodes. Johnny was the forgotten member of the gym, he failed on the world stage a couple of times, but I noticed back then he had this intelligence, this charisma.
“There was no ego, but there was loveable authority, and I thought he would be amazing in the broadcasting world, but has he got the gravitas? Suddenly, he got back and beat Carl Thompson for the world [WBO cruiserweight] title, and I realised then I could definitely use him now – so there is a little bit of that.
“But first and foremost I look at quality. Paul Smith is a very good commentator, and he’s never won a world title, Matthew Macklin was never world champion and Dave Coldwell was an average fighter and he’ll admit that himself. But he’s a trainer, he’s a manager, a promoter, he’s done it all and his knowledge is incredible. Spencer Fearon is a key member of the team working on the podcast. He is a big name in the boxing community and sparks great debate, both on the podcast and on social media.
“We’ve got a new look to the team with the likes of Carl [Froch] and freelancers like Paulie [Malignaggi], Tony Bellew, David Haye. Carl has got gravitas because of what he’s done in the ring, but he’s also a very good talker, so that is your ultimate. We’ve got a great mix of characters in the team.”
And whatever happened to Ringside – the popular weekly magazine show?
“We had the magazine show Ringside, which we all loved doing, but it wasn’t practical to do it anymore. Things have changed, things are quicker, sharper, people want to know information immediately, and with the digital world really picking up, a lot of our stories are told on skysports.com, or linear on Sky Sports News, that’s where we can really feed in, and that’s how we can get the casual fans, and continue to broaden and build the sport which is in – I think – the best place it’s ever been, certainly in my time at Sky.”