On this day, March 8 …

1971: Joe Frazier defeats Muhammad Ali by decision in what is billed as "The Fight of the Century" at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Also on this day: 

  • 1618: German astronomer Johannes Kepler devises his third law of planetary motion.
  • 1702: England’s Queen Anne accedes to the throne upon the death of King William III.
  • 1948: The Supreme Court, in McCollum v. Board of Education, strikes down voluntary religious education classes in Champaign, Ill., public schools, saying the program violates separation of church and state.
  • 1965: The first U.S. combat troops land in South Vietnam as 3,500 Marines arrive to defend the U.S. airbase at Da Nang.
  • 1975: The first International Women’s Day is celebrated.
  • 1979: The technology firm Philips demonstrates a prototype compact disc (CD) player during a press conference in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
  • 1983: In a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals convention in Orlando, Fla., President Ronald Reagan refers to the Soviet Union as an "evil empire."

Joe DiMaggio (AP)

  • 1999: Yankee legend and baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio dies in Hollywood, Fla., at age 84.
  • 2004: Abul Abbas, the Palestinian guerrilla leader who’d planned the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro passenger ship, dies while in U.S. custody in Baghdad, Iraq
  • 2004: Actor Robert Pastorelli, 49, is found dead in his Hollywood Hills, Calif., home.
  • 2008: President George W. Bush vetoes a bill that would ban the CIA from using simulated drowning and other coercive interrogation methods to gain information from suspected terrorists.
  • 2014: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a Boeing 777 with 239 people on board, vanishes during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, setting off a massive search. (To date, the fate of the jetliner and its occupants has yet to be officially determined. The plane is presumed to have crashed in the far southern Indian Ocean. Some have speculated the plane’s disappearance was an act of mass murder-suicide by the pilot.)
  • 2018: U.S. and South Korean officials say President Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un by the end of May to negotiate an end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
  • 2018: Mississippi lawmakers pass one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, making the procedure illegal in most cases after 15 weeks of pregnancy. (A federal judge would later strike down the law as unconstitutional.)

Jussie Smollett (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)