Charlie Powell: The Bo Jackson Of Boxing

Charlie Powell was special. His physical abilities and athletic accomplishments are so impressive that in the pantheon of multi-sport greats, Powell deserves a spot alongside Bo Jackson and Jim Thrope.

A professional baseball and football player, as well as a boxer and standout on the basketball court and the track, there was little that Powell could not do. Earlier this month, this phenomena of modern sports passed away at the age of 82.

You might be thinking, "I've never heard of him. He can't be that special."

Can you name another man who boxed Muhammad Ali and sacked a defending NFL champion quarterback 10 times in a single game? Ever heard of another high school basketball star good enough to get begged to play with the Harlem Globetrotters who could also run a 100-yard dash in 9.6 seconds? Probably not.

He could have been an even better boxer than he was, had he just focused on one sport and caught the right breaks. Powell's brother, Art (who was a four-time AFL All-Star wide receiver, with 81 touchdowns to his name), said in a quote to the LA Times recently:

"He was a serious fighter, and if the people handled him right, he might've been a champion. In boxing, it's about knowing the fights to make — and not make. You shouldn't pick your opponent until you get to the place you want. And you need good sparring partners. I always felt they cut him short on those things."

Still, Powell managed to rise as high as the #4 heavyweight contender, despite the fact that he was boxing in the football offseasons, having to lose weight and gain it back with the changing of the seasons. It's difficult to fathom any of football's big men being able, much less willing, to endure that difficulty today.

This is a tribute to a fallen athlete that even 50 years after his heyday continues to amaze with us this athletic accomplishments.

Related: 1986 - Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, Len Bias, Bill Buckner And The Cutlass Supreme

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *