Charles Elvin Powell (April 4, 1932 – September 1, 2014) was a multi-sport professional athlete as an NFL football player, professional boxer (who once fought both Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson), and Minor League baseball player.
|Born:||April 4, 1932|
|Died:||September 1, 2014 (aged 82)|
San Diego, California
|1952–1957||San Francisco 49ers|
Powell was born in Texas. He and his younger brother Art Powell, an NFL wide receiver for the New York Titans and Oakland Raiders in the 1960s, grew up in the Logan Heights area of San Diego, California.
Powell played professional baseball and football as well as boxed. His greatest success was as an NFL player and a boxer, even boxing against Muhammad Ali.
Charlie starred in football, basketball, track and baseball at San Diego High School. In 1950, as a 6'-3", 230-pound defensive end and offensive end, with tremendous power and speed, he was named the California high school football player of the year. In track, he ran 100 yards in 9.6 seconds and threw the shot put 57 feet 9¼ inches. In basketball, he was a second-team all-league center. As a high school baseball player, he hit balls out of San Diego Balboa Stadium. He turned a down an offer of a tryout by the Harlem Globetrotters.
After high school, Charlie was recruited by Notre Dame and UCLA to play football, St. Louis Browns baseball owner Bill Veeck, who had acquired the legendary pitcher Satchel Paige from the Cleveland Indians, signed the power-hitting outfielder to a professional baseball contract. He was sent to the Stockton Ports, a Class B minor league team.
But after playing pro baseball in the summer of 1952, Charlie suddenly abandoned his pro baseball career and signed a pro football contract with the San Francisco 49ers. At 19, he became the youngest player in NFL history. In his first game, he started against the NFL champion Detroit Lions and had multiple sacks against QB Bobby Layne, totalling 67 yards in sack yardage.
Powell played five seasons in the NFL for the 49ers (1952–53 and 1955–57) and two for the Oakland Raiders (1960–61).
Powell was also a professional boxer. In March 1959, on television, he knocked out Nino Valdes of Cuba who was the number 2 ranked heavyweight fighter in the world at the time. He fought Muhammad Ali (who was then known as Cassius Clay) at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh on January 24, 1963. Ali knocked out Powell in the third round, as Ali predicted before the fight. He finished his pro boxing career with a record of 25-11-3. In his career, Charlie also fought Floyd Patterson, losing to him in 6 rounds.
Powell is a member of the Breitbard San Diego Hall of Fame. He was last known to be living in the Pasadena, California area.
- Jenkins, Chris. "NFL great Charlie Powell dead at 82".
- Pugmire, Lance Pugmire, By Lance. "Charlie Powell dies at 82; NFL player who boxed Ali, Patterson - Los Angeles Times". latimes.com.
- great Charlie Powell dead at 82
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