Former World heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali was given painkillers and antidepressants immediately after his Oct. 2 title fight with Larry Holmes, in violation of World Boxing Council rules prohibiting the administration of any drug before the postfight urinalysis.
The violation could cost Ali a suspension from the ring.
Sig Rogich, chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission, said traces of opiates and the drug phenothiazine turned up in Ali's urinalysis after the Las Vegas fight.
He said the commission physician, Dr. George Wirges, said he had been told by Ali's physician, Dr. Charles Lee Williams, that Ali took four drugs, Tylenol No. 4 with one grain of codeine, one milligram of Stelazine, 50 milligrams of Didrex and a tablet of Ananase immediately after the fight. Williams thought Ali had already undergone the test.
Wirges said he had intended to give Ali the urinalysis in the fighter's trailer immediately after the fight but instead waited and administered the tests in Ali's hotel room. Wirges said that was where Williams revealed that he had given Ali the drugs.
Rogich said the Athletic Commission has power to suspend Ali from fighting in Nevada or to bar him permanently there. But he said he hoped neither action would be necessary.
"I would recommend that we retire a great champion, for his own safety and for the integrity of the sport," Rogich said. "We should let him go out with a little dignity.
"He's been a marvelous champion," Rogich said, adding that it was Ali, more than anyone, who sparked a renewal of interest in boxing in the late 1960s and early 1970s. "It would be a sad irony to see him fight again and leave the sport he rebuilt with a cloud over his head."
Jose Sulaiman, president of the World Boxing Council, told the New York Daily News that he was "shocked" by the disclosures, the Associated Press reported.
"The taking of any kinds of drugs after the fight until the urinalysis is given is absolutely prohibited," Sulaiman said. "We had informed Angelo Dundee (Ali's chief handler) at the rules meeting the day before the fight that both fighters could not take anything before the antidoping tests."
Sulaiman also said he would like to see Ali retire.
"After seeing that fight, I don't think Ali should ever fight again. I'm going to do my best to convince him that he should retire because a lot of people in the world are very hurt seeing their idol being hurt."