Sports Spectrum Weekly

Mission Accomplished: Andre Ward announces retirement from Boxing

Andre “S.O.G.” Ward, the No. 1 ranked pound-for-pound boxer, unified Light Heavyweight World Champion and two-time Super Middleweight World Champion, announced on his website that he is retiring from the sport of boxing.

The 33-year-old IBF/WBA/WBO Light Heavyweight champion, leaves with a 32-0 record with 16 knockouts. Ward explained his reason for walking away from boxing in a statement he released on his website titled “Mission Accomplished.”

“To the sport of boxing – I love you. You’ve been by my side since I was 10-years-old, Ward said on his website. “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.”

On ESPN’s show ‘First Take’ Ward further explained his reason to retire.

“People see what I do fight night,” Ward said to ESPN. “They see under the lights, but they don’t see the toil, they don’t see the grind, they don’t see just the pain, the physical pain that you go through, not just in the fights, but to prepare and to get ready for those battles.”

“I felt the physicality of the sport — not just in-the-ring stuff, but the training and the preparation — start to take its toll on me for the last two or three years, and I bit down and continued to push through. And at this point, it’s time, and I know it’s time.”

Ward, won a gold medal in the Light Heavyweight division at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. After turning professional, Ward won the WBA super middle weight title over Mikkel Kessler in 2009 and unified that title in 2011 by beating Carl Froch in the Super Six super middleweight tournament final. In his last fight on June 17, Ward defeated Sergey Kovalev in an eight round TKO.

“Andre Ward ends his boxing career as he only knew how to live it — as a champion at the top,” HBO executive vice president Peter Nelson said to the Associated Press. “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.”

Ward, has been outspoken about his faith in Jesus Christ. He used songs from Christian Hip Hop artists Da’ T.R.U.T.H and Bizzle in his walk-up songs and promotions.

As the sun sets on Ward’s boxing career with his title on his statement ‘Mission Accomplished,’ it mirrors the words of Peter in the Bible.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)