Many of you have seen Nintendo's television spots for Punch Out!!, but did you know that the man playing Little Mac is a professional boxer and not an actor? It's true! Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi did an outstanding job playing Punch Out!!'s little pugilist that could. Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole (one of my favorite boxing writers) recently interviewed Malignaggi, who said:
I've been watching Malignaggi box for years and I assure you that he's using his real voice in the commercials. It's just like he said: his relatively small stature (he spent most of his career fighting in the 135- and 140-pound divisions), Italian-American looks and accent, and flamboyant attitude made him the perfect Little Mac. The similarities end there though; unlike Little Mac,Malignaggi's power is definitely...light. While Little Mac, under the guidance of any half-decent gamer, knocks out the competition, Malignaggi wins with his slick defensive skills. Calling the latter feather fisted is an insult to feathers.
Although I'm hardly a Malignaggi fan -- I respect his skills, but his personality turns me off -- I'm happy for him and the exposure he's bringing to a sport that's not nearly as relevant as it was in the '80s. The television spots are great and hopefully the game, as arcade-y as it is, will draw some people into the real sport. He might be a prick from Brooklyn (Queens in the house!), but Malignaggi's role in the Punch Out!! commercials is good for boxing.
What did you think of the ads? Did you have any idea that Little Mac was being played by a real boxer?