Boxing Timeline

    Widely regarded as the Greatest of All Time, learn about Muhammad Ali's entire boxing career.

    Red Bike Moment

    Amateur Record Highlights

    Wins Olympic Gold Medal

    At age 18, Ali competes at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and wins the light-heavyweight gold medal, defeating Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of Poland.

    Black and white photo of Muhammad Ali and family as he wears his gold medal

    First Professional Fight: Clay Vs. Tunney Hunsaker

    Ali faces Hunsaker, a police officer from Fayetteville, West Virginia, just weeks after his Olympic gold medal win. Proceeds from the fight benefit the Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville.
    Win - Unanimous Decision in 6 rounds [Louisville, Kentucky]

    Black and white photo of Ali throwing punch at Hunsaker

    Cassius Clay Vs. Herb Siler

    Clay Vs. Tony Esperti

    Clay Vs. Jim Robinson

    Clay Vs. Donnie Fleeman

    Clay Vs. Lamar Clark

    Clay Vs. Duke Sabedong

    Clay Vs. Alonzo Johnson

    Clay Vs. Alex Miteff

    Clay Vs. Willi Besmanoff

    Clay Vs. Sonny Banks

    Clay Vs. Don Warner

    Clay Vs. George Logan

    Clay Vs. Billy Daniels

    Clay Vs. Alejandro Lavorante

    Clay Vs. Archie Moore

    Clay Vs. Charlie Powell

    In another prediction made real, Muhammad Ali knocks out former professional football player Charlie Powell in the third round. The match raised money for the families of coal miners killed in a cave-in near Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
    Win - Knockout in 3 rounds [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]

    Black and white photo of Muhammad Ali in boxing gear in a locker room

    Clay Vs. Doug Jones

    Clay Vs. Henry Cooper (I)

    Ali’s first international fight begins with him walking to the Wembley Stadium ring wearing a long, red silk robe and a crown on his head. Ali predicts he will defeat Cooper in five rounds and is correct once again.
    Win - Technical Knockout in 5 rounds [London, England]

    Photo of boxing program featuring Muhammad Ali and Henry Cooper

    Announces Conversion To Islam, Name Change

    The day after winning his first heavyweight belt, the fighter announces he is a proud Muslim. He goes by the name Cassius X for nine days, then receives the new name of Muhammad Ali from Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

    Ali Vs. Sonny Liston (II)

    A postponed rematch kicked out of Boston brings Ali and Liston to fight in a small town in Maine. In the first round, Ali’s fast right “anchor punch” sends Liston directly to the canvas, unable to rise before the end of the count. Stopped after 2:12, it ranks among the shortest heavyweight championships and most controversial fights in boxing history.
    Win - Knockout in 1 round [Lewiston, Maine]

    Black and white photo of Ali raising glove in the air in boxing ring after fight
    Howard Bingham

    Ali Vs. Floyd Patterson

    Ali Vs. George Chuvalo (I)

    Ali Vs. Henry Cooper (II)

    View of Muhammad from below as he raises gloved fist towards boxing opponent

    Ali Vs. Brian London

    Ali Vs. Karl Mildenberger

    Ali Vs. Cleveland Williams

    This fight debuted Muhammad’s technique that he referred to as the “Ali Shuffle,” which involved him moving his feet quickly back and forth in the ring.
    Win - Technical Knockout in 3 rounds [Houston, Texas]

    Color photo of boxing program for Ali vs. Williams fight in Houston

    Ali Vs. Ernie Terrell

    Declared the heavyweight champion when the World Boxing Association took the title from Ali in 1965, Terrell had backed out of a March 1966 matchup. When Terrell refers to him as “Cassius Clay” in the lead-up to this bout, the disrespect Ali feels prompts him to shout, “What’s my name?!” as he wins.
    Win - Unanimous Decision in 15 rounds [Houston, Texas]

    Sports Illustrated cover showcasing "The Big Fight: Clay vs. Terrell"

    Ali Vs. Zora Folley

    Exiled from Boxing

    Ali Vs. Jerry Quarry: First Post-Exile Fight

    This fight was not approved by Georgia governor Lester Maddox, a segregationist who declared a “day of mourning” over it. However, only Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell’s approval was necessary, secured through the efforts of State Senator Leroy Johnson.
    Win - Technical Knockout in 3 rounds [Atlanta, Georgia]

    Action photo of Muhammad Ali after punching Jerry Quarry in their Oct. 26 fight

    Ali Vs. Oscar Bonavena

    Ali Vs. Joe Frazier (I)

    In a chance to reclaim his title, Ali’s first fight with Frazier matched two undefeated fighters. However, Ali’s three years away from the ring make the difference in a grueling 15 rounds. It is Ali’s first defeat and the start of the greatest rivalry in boxing history.
    Loss - Unanimous Decision in 15 rounds [New York City, Madison Square Garden]

    Action photo of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier during boxing match

    Ali Vs. Jimmy Ellis

    Ali Vs. Buster Mathis

    Ali Vs. Jürgen Blin

    Ali Vs. Mac Foster

    Ali Vs. George Chuvalo (II)

    Ali Vs. Jerry Quarry (II)

    Ali Vs. Alvin Lewis

    Ali Vs. Floyd Patterson (II)

    Ali Vs. Bob Foster

    Ali Vs. Joe Bugner

    Elvis Presley welcomes Ali to Las Vegas by giving the boxer a custom robe bedazzled just like The King’s own jumpsuits. A miscommunication results in the robe reading “People’s Choice” across the back, despite Elvis asking for “People’s Champ.”
    Win - Unanimous Decision in 12 rounds [Las Vegas]

    Photo of Muhammad Ali Vs. Joe Bugner program photo

    Ali Vs. Ken Norton

    Ali Vs. Ken Norton (II)

    Ali Vs. Rudie Lubbers

    Ali Vs. Joe Frazier (II) – Super Fight II

    Though Frazier was no longer the heavyweight champion, Ali wanted to face him again to prove he was indeed “The Greatest.” The match went the distance of 12 rounds and ultimately led to a unanimous decision in favor of Ali.
    Win - Unanimous Decision in 12 rounds [New York City, Madison Square Garden]

    Black and white photo of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier inside boxing ring

    Ali Vs. Chuck Wepner

    Ali Vs. Ron Lyle

    Ali Vs. Joe Bugner (II)

    Ali faced Joe Bugner for the second time in the first (and as of 2023, the only) heavyweight championship boxing match to take place in Malaysia.
    Win - Unanimous Decision in 15 rounds [Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia]

    Color photo of Muhammad Ali Vs. Joe Bugner boxing program

    Ali Vs. Jean-Pierre Coopman

    Ali Vs. Jimmy Young

    Ali vs. Richard Dunn

    Ali Vs. Ken Norton (III)

    Ali Vs. Alfredo Evangelista

    Ali Vs. Earnie Shavers

    Ali Vs. Leon Spinks (I)

    Announces Retirement From Boxing

    Ali Vs. Larry Holmes

    Ali Vs. Trevor Berbick – Drama In Bahama

    In the 61st and final fight of his career, Muhammad Ali begins the bout trying to look like his former self, but by the sixth round, he began to tire. After Berbick was declared winner, Ali officially retired.
    Loss - Unanimous Decision in 10 rounds [Nassau, Bahamas]

    Action photo of Muhammad Ali throwing punch toward Trevor Berbick in the ring

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