Ezzard Charles vs. Bob Satterfield

By The Fight Film Collector on July 10, 2013
Ezzard Charles vs. Bob Satterfield
"As Satterfield bent forward, Ezzard Charles' piston-like left caught him flush on the chin."

During the first minute of round two, as Satterfield bore in, Charles countered with a brilliant inside left hook that dropped Satterfield for the count….

Ezzard Charles vs. Bob Satterfield
Chicago Stadium, Chicago
January 13, 1954
Kinescope, Restoration

The Fight

Not even the finest wine ages better than Ezzard Charles. In this 1954 title elimination fight, Charles serves up a precision knockout against one of the great bombers of the 1950s, Bob Satterfield. Charles had kept a full schedule of fights since losing the heavyweight title to Jersey Joe Walcott two years earlier, with this showdown putting him in line for a match with champion Rocky Marciano. Satterfield, 34-14-2 coming in, started fast and had Charles, 82-10-1, in trouble in the first round.  The Cincinnati Cobra survived but Satterfield continued to show little respect for the former champ. During the first minute of round two, as Satterfield bore in, Charles countered with a brilliant inside left hook that dropped Satterfield for the count. It was a brief but exciting fight, with a great effort by Satterfield. Charles, however, kept a cool head and prevailed. When Charles looks this good, I end up wishing his fights had lasted longer. But the Cobra strikes when the Cobra is ready.

According to the Associated Press, “A revitalized Ezzard Charles, 189, dropped a bomb on Bob Satterfield, 180, in Chicago Stadium last night to touch off a gigantic buildup for a heavyweight title bout with champion Rocky Marciano. Charles, who gets the chance to become the first fighter in history to regain the heavyweight crown, pole-axed Satterfield in the first minute of the 2nd round with one of the hardest left hooks he ever has thrown. Satterfield was set up for the mighty finishing blow by absorbing a right to the midsection. As he started to bend forward, Charles’ piston-like left caught him flush on the chin. He went over backwards and hit the canvas so hard resin dust flew. He lay lifelessly until referee Frank Gilmer tolled out the full count.”

The Footage

Both film and kinescope footage exists of this fight.  Kinescopes were motion picture films taken directly off a television monitor in the days before video tape. It was the only method of recording TV programs at the time, and the results were mixed. Some programs look good even today, while others look no better than the first moon landing. Though the kinescope is not as clear as the film version, I much prefer the live commentary to overdubbed narration.

The Restoration

The kinescope copy I received was very dark and I wasn’t optimistic that I could improve the detail very much. But once I adjusted the overall picture levels, the image brightened up. Also, of the two cameras used to capture the fight, one was much darker than the other, so I evened out the exposure between shots to make viewing a little smoother. The fight was broadcast a decade before instant-replay. Viewers who stepped out of the room or looked away to reach for another can of Schlitz missed the Charles left hook.  This was just too classic a punch not to see again in slow motion, so I added the replay during the post fight, as well as Satterfield’s surge in the first round. Enjoy.

The Fight Film Collector is a producer and film archivist who has been collecting boxing films for nearly 40 years. He has consulted for Sports Illustrated, provided footage to ESPN and recovered films for the families of retired boxers. He is passionate about the sport of boxing and its history. His blog is http://fightfilmcollector.blogspot.com/. He can reached at rotoscope66 at yahoo.com.

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Ezzard Charles -vs- Bob Satterfield 1954 (Original TV Broadcast)

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  1. Mike Silver 10:14pm, 07/11/2013

    Replace Ezzard Charles with Wladimir Klitschko. My money is on Satterfield to blitz him in one round. The guy hit as hard as any 220 pounder. One of the most dangerous first round bombers of all time.

  2. FrankinDallas 07:24pm, 07/11/2013

    wow…what a slugfest.

  3. ted 12:18pm, 07/11/2013

    Here you go. I had to go back and dig hem out but each was a closet classic.

    Bob Satterfield vs. Lee Oma (1950)

    Bob Satterfield vs. Tommy Gomez (1950)

    Bob Satterfield vs. Rex Layne (1951)

    Bob Satterfield vs. Johnny Summerlin (1956)

    Bob Satterfield vs. Warnell Lester (1956)

    Bob Satterfield vs. Garvin Sawyer (1957)

  4. Ted 08:20am, 07/11/2013

    I have Bob in about 7 different closet classics.

  5. Ted 07:10am, 07/11/2013

    GTC, I think Marciano would have beaten him pretty much like Jake did. The Rock had the chin to withstand Bob’s BOMBS BUT VERY FEW DID.

    I have Ezzard as the best LH of all time and I have Bob as the most action-oriented fighter of my lifetime.

  6. George Thomas Clark 06:59am, 07/11/2013

    Ted - one of three greatest light heavies, sure, and one of best cruiserweights too.

  7. Mike Casey 02:26am, 07/11/2013

    Satterfield’s blitz of the highly touted Bob Baker was a peach.

  8. The Fight Film Collector 10:11pm, 07/10/2013

    Ted, Given your knowledge of Satterfield, and if had defeated Charles in this eliminator, how do you believe he would have done against Marciano?

  9. Tex Hassler 07:29pm, 07/10/2013

    Ezzard was one of the three best Light Heavys of all times. Most people forget he could punch as well as box. He fought them all. It did my heart good to see Ezzard Charles Blvd. as we drove through Cincinnati some years ago. Ezzard earned the right to be remembered for what he was, a truly gifted, great fighter.

  10. George Thomas Clark 12:49pm, 07/10/2013

    A left hook like a 500 foot homer; it stuns the slugger as much as the viewers…

  11. Ted 11:49am, 07/10/2013

    Well, Bob Satterfield was my favorite fighter of all time, so I will admit to having seen this one and it bothered me. Rapid Robert was ahead until he got coldcocked. But that was the thing, if you didn’t get him, he would get you.

    We used to watch his closet classics live and they were indelible. He was maybe the first of the truly great chill-or-be-chilled guys. I still keep in touch with the few remaining members of his family. His son Bob died a few years back.

    I have probably done more research on him than any other fighter. Fascinating life to say the least. He once studied art alongside Leroy Neiman and was a great friend of many of the legendary modern jazz players of his time. In a word, Satterfield was “cool.”

    Thanks FFC

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