In the eyes of many, Andre Ward was too skilled, too determined, and quite simply, too good, to hang up his gloves at the age of 33. Yet, as Ward stood at the summit of boxing’s mountain top, he quickly vanished into a cloud of retirement smoke.

Still, even with Ward penning a heartfelt letter to his adoring fans, explaining the reasoning behind his sudden departure, most of the boxing world waited anxiously for his return. Ultimately, Ward remained true to his word, allowing his boxing trunks to collect dust, despite ongoing rumors.

A smiling Ward sauntered to the Hall of Fame podium earlier this year and took his rightful place amongst boxing’s elite. As Ward continues to soak up the love and adulation he’s been shown, the Oakland native looks back on his career fondly. With countless accolades under his belt, the now 38-year-old paused for a second when asked to name one of his more memorable achievements.

“I mean it was always the first championship,” said Ward during an interview with K.O. Artist Sports. “I proved that I wasn’t a bust. I wasn’t just a gold medalist but that I had the chops to compete at the highest level as a pro.”

In 2004, after successfully snagging an Olympic gold medal in the 2004 games, Ward’s struggles at the next level were accentuated following his razor-close victory over Darnell Boone in his seventh professional bout.

Still, regardless of the dubious voices that began to swirl, Ward would go on to become a multi-divisional champion. Having fought a who’s who of fighters and top-tier contenders throughout his career, Ward believes that his two-fight rivalry with former light heavyweight kingpin, Sergey Kovalev, was his finest hour as a pro.

“My most complete performance was Kovalev two, but my proudest was probably Kovalev one.”

Before walking off into the sunset, Ward registered an eighth-round stoppage victory over Kovalev in June of 2017. However, roughly one year prior, Ward was forced to battle through unfamiliar hardship.

A cautious Ward attempted to box and move against Kovalev from the outside during their first encounter. But, as the Russian star began finding his range, Ward was sent crashing down to the deck in the second round.

Given no choice but to bite down on his mouthpiece and engage in a firefight, Ward, following 12 hard-fought rounds, became the first man to sully Kovalev’s record, winning via unanimous decision. While his career might be filled with indelible moments, Ward is of the belief that the adversity he faced in his first showdown against Kovalev, stands out.

“I had to get it a different kind of way, got off the canvas and I showed that I wasn't a frontrunner. I did what champions do, I got up and I took care of my business.”