Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Who is That Boxer in the Subway Commercials?

So over the past few weeks watching various sporting events on TV I have been bombarded with a number of Subway commercials.  I like Subway sandwiches as an alternative to McDonald's when I'm on the road for whatever reason so I usually pay attention to see if there is any new creation that strikes my fancy.

I'm also fairly up on who is who and what is what in the sporting world so when I saw a solidly built white guy with boxing tape on his hands in the same commercial as slugger Ryan Howard and HOF footballer Michael Strahan I immediately wondered--Who is this person and why is he in this National level commercial when I don't know him?

Turns out the man is one Mr. Mike Lee.  He is a professional boxer in the light heavyweight class who graduated from Notre Dame in '06 with a degree in Finance.  Instead of putting his degree to work on Wall Street where he was offered jobs, he went into boxing.  He had fought in some intramural events in college but did not begin fighting seriously until out of school.  Lee was a Golden Gloves champion in Chicago in '09, meaning his professional career is only 3-4 years old and has minimal amateur experience.

As a pro Mike Lee is 11-0 with 6 KOs.  This record has not bee generated against the greatest of opponents...but then again, what highly touted boxer is actually allowed to fight decent competition these days?  Particularly a white one with decent prospects.  Its kinda like his Alma mater in football.  They didn't really play much of anyone to get to their #1 ranking this past year but get there they did (only to get smoked by Alabama).

And the Subway connection?  Mike Lee's dad is supposed to have a tradition of getting Mike a Subway sandwich to replenish the boxer after each training session.

So there you have it...Mike Lee is an under experienced boxer with a good but largely unknown skills in the light heavyweight division more known for his brain and choice of profession than he is his results to date.  He makes a great story at this point and kudos to Subway for latching on to an up and coming athlete before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon but I can't help but thinking his marketing story is better because of his skin color (there are hundreds of black and Hispanic boxers out there with similar records but without corporate endorsement deals).  I hope he proves me wrong and that his talent ends up transcending skin pigment.

Oh, and why are boxing website seemingly all out of date, poorly done and look like they were created on a Commodore 64??  If boxing wants to get back to being a noteworthy sport someone with a brain and marketing needs to get behind the wheel....Max Kellerman....calling Max Kellerman!!

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