1942 — Born Cassius Clay on January 17, in Louisville, Kentucky.


1954 — Begins training as a boxer after his bicycle is stolen. Over next six years, Clay wins six Kentucky Golden Gloves championships, two national Golden Gloves titles, and two AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) crowns.


1960 — Clay wins light-heavyweight gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Rome, beating Poland’s Zbigniew Pietrzykowski in a 5-0 decision. In October, he wins his first professional bout, against Tunney Hunsaker.


1964 — On February 25, Clay goes up against favored Sonny Liston. In what will become his trademark, Clay begins taunting Liston, calling him an “ugly old bear,” promising to “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Clay is credited with a knockout and becomes the heavyweight champion of the world after Liston fails to come out of his corner for the seventh round. Clay coins the phrase “I am the greatest!” — a phrase for which he will forever be known.


On February 26, Clay joins Nation of Islam, and on March 6, he changes his name to Muhammad Ali.


1966 — Citing his religious beliefs, Ali files for conscientious objector status and refuses to serve in U.S. military, which is involved in the Vietnam War at the time.


1967 — The U.S. government denies his status. Ali is convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to a maximum five years in prison and fined $10,000. The New York boxing association takes back his titles and bans him from boxing for three years.

FILE – Laila Ali, left, poses with her father, boxing great Muhammad Ali, after her win against Erin Toughill at the MCI Center in Washington, June 11, 2005.


FILE – Laila Ali, left, poses with her father, boxing great Muhammad Ali, after her win against Erin Toughill at the MCI Center in Washington, June 11, 2005.


1970 — The New York State Supreme Court orders his boxing license reinstated.


1971 — In March, Ali fights heavyweight champ Joe Frazier in Madison Square Garden, but loses after 15 rounds, in a unanimous decision.


Later that year, Supreme Court rules in his favor, reversing the 1967 draft-evasion conviction, saying he should not have been drafted in the first place due to his religious beliefs.


1974 — In January, Ali beats Frazier. Later that year, he beats George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle,” and reclaims world heavyweight champion title.


1975 — Ali again faces Frazier, beats him in fight known as “The Thrilla in Manila.”

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1978 — In Februrary, Ali loses heavyweight title to Leon Spinks; regains it six months later by beating Spinks.


1981 — Ali loses a unanimous decision to Trevor Berbick. In December, he announces his retirement — at age 39 — ending his career with a professional record of 56 wins, 5 losses, 37 knockouts.


1984 — He is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.


1996 — Ali carries the Olympic flame for Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia.


1997 — Sports Illustrated names Ali Sportsman of the Century.


2005 — Ali is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honor, by then-President George W. Bush.


2009 — Ali attends the inauguration of President Barack Obama.


2016 — Dies June 3 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was married four times and had nine children.


Source: Voice Of America