Foreman claims he was drugged before loss to Ali

Updated: May 22, 2007, 10:48 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Was Muhammad Ali's "rope-a-dope' strategy the only dope involved in the "Rumble in the Jungle?"

George Foreman isn't so sure.

In his recently published memoirs, "God in My Corner," Foreman says he was drugged just before the Oct. 30, 1974 title fight in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- then known as Zaire.

Foreman, then the world heavyweight champion, was a heavy favorite to beat Ali, the former champion. But Ali deflected or absorbed Foreman's punches as he leaned against the ropes, allowing Foreman to tire himself out in the tropical heat. He knocked Foreman out in the eighth round for the title.

But Foreman, now 58, says something else tired him. In his memoirs he says before the fight, his trainer gave him something to drink that tasted like medicine.

"I almost spit it out ... [I told my trainer] 'Man, I know this water has medicine in it,'" Foreman wrote. "I climbed into the ring with that medicinal taste still lingering in my mouth."

"After the third round, I was as tired as if I had fought 15 rounds. What's going on here? Did someone slip a drug in my water?" he wrote.