By: Sean Crose
Andre Ward, the light heavyweight mutli-titlist, former Olympian and one time king of the super middleweight division has announced his retirement from the sport of boxing. The news took the fight world by surprise, as Ward is currently regarded by many as being the pound for pound best in the sport of boxing at the moment. Still, the thirty-three year old made clear in a message on his web page that it was time for him to move on from the dangerous sport which has made him famous. “As I walk away from the sport of boxing today,” he wrote, “I leave at the top of your glorious mountain, which was always my vision and my dream. I did it. We did it.”
Ward steps away from the ring with an unblemished record of thirty-two wins and no defeats. His last fight was a rematch against light heavyweight powerhouse Sergey Kovalev, who he beat decisively by way of a viscous body attack. That fight confirmed that Ward was indeed one of the smartest boxers in the sport, but also showed that the man had power to hang with the hardest of hitters and still emerge victorious. Such battles, however, have clearly taken their toll on the man. “I want to be clear,” he writes, “I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport and therefore my desire to fight is no longer there.”
Although Ward may technically be just slightly removed from his prime, at best, he has proven to be the rarest of athletes in that he’s stepping away from the sport which has earned him enormous sums of money and accolades while remaining on top of it. Future big fights, perhaps with middleweight powerhouse Gennady Golovkin or fellow light heavyweight titlist Adonis Stevenson might remain, but it’s clear that Ward, who would be a certain favorite against either fighter, no longer feels the need to prove himself. Most would agree he doesn’t have to. “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!” Ward posted in a tweet that was accompanied by an impressive one minute video.
Along with two wins over Kovalev, Ward bested former light heavyweight titlist Chad Dawson, and esteemed junior middleweights Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham and Mikkel Kessler, among others. Although he never became the household name that contemporaries Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao did, the reserved, spiritual Ward left a huge imprint on the sport of boxing.
“Above all,” he wrote on his site, “I give God the Glory, for allowing me to do what I’ve done, for as long as I have.”