For the second time in two years, the number one pound for pound fighter in the world retired as the reigning pound for pound king. Almost two years ago to the day Floyd “Money” Mayweather announced his retirement immediately after defeating Andre Berto, yea he came back to take on a 0-0 guy but that doesn’t count.
On the Morning on September 21st Andre “SOG” Ward announced his retirement while still in the prime of his career and coming off undoubtedly the best win of his career. Not too many great athletes get to walk away while still in the peak of their professional career following the best win of their career. The only other top name that comes to mind is John Elway who had just won Superbowl XXXII & XXXIII. Andre Ward got to do just this. He had just cleaned out the light heavyweight division and knocked out the boogeyman, after getting a close and debated decision over Kovalev back in November of 2016, he removed all doubt and unleashed an epic body attack and knocked out the Russian in the 8th round of their rematch.
Andre Ward released the following statement on his personal website:
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.
If this retirement is for real, and we have indeed seen the last of SOG in the ring, the 33-year-old Oakland native will walk away from the sport as the current, pound for pound champ. The current WBA Super World Light Heavyweight champ, The IBF World Light Heavyweight champ, WBO World Light Heavyweight champ. He will also walk away with his “0” intact, with a perfect record of 32-0 (16), he cleared out two weight classes, defeating Sergey Kovalev twice and Sullivan Barrera leaving only a fight with Adonis Stevenson on the table. A fight with a zillion promotional issues. Ward will also go down as one of, if not the greatest 168lb champion of all time cleaning out absolutely every in the weight class, winning the Super 6 tournament in which he barely lost a round, was named the 2011 fighter of the year award then going on and winning a mega fight with the performance of the year by knocking out 175lb champ Chad Dawson in 2012. He is also the last male US Olympian to win win a gold medal in boxing, which he did back in 2004.
The 33-year-old Ward will certainly have a smooth transition outside of the ring. We have seen him adding color commentary for ESPN and HBO and has been a boxing expert and pundit on many ESPN shows as well. Ward is an intelligent well-spoken individual with a lot of options. Additionally, he is a devout Christian, whose faith is the focal point of his life, he is a husband to Tiffiney and a proud father of their sons Andre, Jr., Malachi and their daughter Amira. Ward has been a complete class act and a role model who has represented the sport perfectly the last 13 years. God Bless him in all his future endeavors. He has been a credit to the sport.