Andre Ward, the light heavyweight considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, has announced his retirement.
In a post on his website titled “Mission Accomplished,” Ward wrote that his body could not longer take the punishment of boxing and that, as such, he’d lost his desire to fight. He wrote:
To the sport of boxing – I love you. You’ve been by my side since I was 10-years-old. You’ve taught me so much. You’ve humbled me. You’ve promoted me. I’ve sacrificed a lot for you, but you’ve given me more than I ever thought possible. You gave me a platform, made me a champion and helped me provide for my family. I am forever grateful to you. You and I will always be synonymous, connected at the hip. Thank you for all the wonderful people I’ve come in contact with because of you. I’ve made friends for life. As I walk away from the sport of boxing today, I leave at the top of your glorious mountain, which was always my vision and my dream. I did it. We did it.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has played a part in my journey. You know who you are. I could not have done this without you. 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. If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting. Above all, I give God the Glory, for allowing me to do what I’ve done, for as long as I have.
The news did not come without warning. A month or so after beating Sergey Kovalev by decision in their first bout last year, he told Rolling Stone in January he was possibly nearing the end of his career. “I just really got to take my time right now and make sure that every decision that I make and every fight that I take is the right situation because if it’s not, I don’t know if it makes sense to continue on,” he told the magazine.
Still, Ward faced Kovalev in a rematch in June, and beat him by TKO after several punches that appeared to be low blows.
If he doesn’t come back—this is boxing, after all—Ward will retire with a 32-0 record. Before winning the light heavyweight titles from Kovalev, he previously won world championships at super middleweight.