Andre Ward announces shock retirement from boxing

Unified light heavyweight champion says his body can no longer stand up to physical rigours of boxing

 Andre Ward celebrates after his light heavyweight championship bout against Sergey Kovalev in Las Vegas  in  June. The 33-year-old has announced his retirement from boxing. Photograph:  Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Andre Ward celebrates after his light heavyweight championship bout against Sergey Kovalev in Las Vegas in June. The 33-year-old has announced his retirement from boxing. Photograph: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

 

Andre Ward, the unified light heavyweight champion widely recognised as the world’s top pound-for-pound boxer, announced his retirement from the sport on Thursday.

The Olympic champion attributed the physical rigours of the sport and waning desire to fight with his decision to walk away at the relatively young age of 33.

“I want to be clear – 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,” Ward said in a statement on his website. “If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting.”

Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) was coming off an eighth-round knockout of Russia’s Sergey Kovalev in June, a rematch of their November bout which the American won by a controversial unanimous decision. Those pay-per-view fights came after a host of injuries and a promotional spat that conspired to limit him to four fights in the previous 50 months.

Previously, he had cleaned out the talent-stacked super middleweight division with a run of clinical victories over Mikkel Kessler, Allan Green, Sakio Bika, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch and Chad Dawson.

He went 114-5 in an extraordinary amateur career that culminated with an Olympic gold medal at the Athens Games, which remains the last time an American has topped the podium in men’s boxing. The last time Ward lost a fight was against John Revish at the 1997 National Silver Gloves tournament in Baton Rouge when he was 13.

“I remember what that felt like, I remember who it was, I remember where it was, I remember how I felt coming home,” he recalled to the Guardian last year. “And I just never wanted to feel like that again. I made up my mind that it was never going to happen again in terms of what I can control. That’s what drives me. I don’t know if it’s a fear of failure, but I’ve always had it.

“That’s why I train the way that I train. I don’t like to lose. God forbid if that ever happens, it’s not going to be because I wasn’t ready.”

In an era dominated by Floyd Mayweather Jr’s money-spinning bombast, Ward offered a fresh-faced alternative: a happily married devout Christian with four children, Michael Jordan’s endorsement, a level-headed personality and talent to burn.

Ward said last month his TV contract with HBO, for whom he’d fought six of his last seven fights, had expired.

“Andre Ward ends his boxing career as he only knew how to live it – as a champion at the top,” HBO boxing czar Peter Nelson said in a statement. “To watch Ward was to marvel at constant mastery of craft in the ring, to say nothing of his being the consummate role model outside it. The Hall of Fame will be lucky to have him.”

(Guardian service)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.