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Muhammad Ali
Career Highlights of a Three-Time World Heavyweight Champion

Jan. 17, 1942
Born Cassius Clay Jr. in Louisville, Ky.

1959-60
Clay is National Gold Gloves amateur boxing champion.

1960
Clay wins the gold medal for light-heavyweight boxing at the Rome Olympics. His amateur career record is 100-5.

Oct. 29, 1960
In his professional debut, Clay defeats Tunney Hunsaker in Louisville, Ky.

Ali stands over a fallen Liston

Ali stands over a fallen Liston in 1965.
Photo: Library of Congress

Feb. 25, 1964
Clay defeats Sonny Liston in Miami Beach, Fla., to win his first world heavyweight professional boxing title. After the fight, Clay announces his membership in the Black Muslim religion and adopts the name Muhammad Ali.
listen Listen to Ali proclaim himself "the greatest" after the Liston bout.
(Audio courtesy of Bill Cayton, Cayton Sports Inc.)

listen Hear Ali's poem about Sonny Liston.

May 25, 1965
In a rematch, Ali scores a first-round knockout against Liston in Lewiston, Maine.

April 28, 1967
Ali refuses induction into the U.S. Army, declaring himself to be a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War.

April 29, 1967
World Boxing Association and state boxing commissions strip Ali of his championship title.

Ali

Muhammad Ali
Photo: Library of Congress

June 20, 1967
Ali is found guilty of draft evasion in Houston, Texas; he is fined $10,000 and sentenced to five years in prison, but remains free on appeal.

1970
Ali is allowed to resume fighting.

March 8, 1971
Ali loses to Joe Frazier in New York.

June 28, 1971
The U.S. Supreme Court reverses Ali's draft-evasion conviction, ruling he had been drafted improperly.

Oct. 30, 1974
In a fight in Kinshasa, Zaire, that Ali dubs "The Rumble in the Jungle," he knocks out favorite George Foreman to regain the world heavyweight title.

Oct. 1, 1975
Ali defeats Joe Frazier with a 14th-round knockout in Manila.
listen Listen to Ali describe "The Thrilla in Manila."

Feb. 15, 1978
Ali loses his title to Leon Spinks in Las Vegas.

Sept. 15, 1978
Ali wins the world heavyweight title for a record third time in a New Orleans rematch against Spinks.

June 27, 1979
Ali announces his retirement from boxing.

Oct. 2, 1980
Ali returns to the ring and loses to Larry Holmes in Las Vegas.

Dec. 11, 1981
Ali loses to Trevor Berbick in Nassau. After the fight, Ali retires with a pro career record of 56-5, including 37 knockouts.

Ali lights Olympic torch

Ali lights Olympic torch in Atlanta. Dec. 4, 2001.
Photo: Copyright 2001 Reuters Limited

1984
Ali announces he has Parkinson's disease, a progressive degenerative disorder.

1996
In an emotional ceremony, Ali lights the torch at the Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Dec. 4, 2001
Ali kicks off the torch relay for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics by lighting the torch in Atlanta.

moreReturn to the main Muhammad Ali page.