As previously reported on BoxingScene.com, unified light heavyweight champion Andre Ward announced Thursday he is retiring from boxing because he no longer has the desire to fight, leaving the sport at age 33 with an undefeated record.
Ward released a statement on his website titled "Mission Accomplished " thanking those who helped him throughout his career and explaining his reasons for his retirement.
"I want to be clear - I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigours of the sport and therefore my desire to fight is no longer there," he wrote.
"If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting."
Ward is currently rated the best "pound for pound" boxer by most respected outlets.
But in an interview with ESPN's First Take, he said he no longer wants to do the work leading to his bouts.
Ward has won all 32 of his fights, with 16 knockouts. He won the Olympic gold medal as a light heavyweight in 2004.
Ward won the WBA super middleweight title in 2009 when he defeated Mikkel Kessler and unified that title in 2011 when he beat Carl Froch in the Super Six super middleweight tournament final.
Ward then battled shoulder problems that kept him out of the ring and later went 19 months without a fight because of a protracted legal dispute with his former promoter, the late Dan Goosen.
Ward got back in the ring in June 2015. He won the light heavyweight title in a disputed, unanimous decision against Sergey Kovalev in November 2016, taking all three belts in the process.
Froch was shocked to see Ward retire at such a young age, as there were several potential paydays out there - like a unification with Adonis Stevenson or a cruiserweight bout with Tony Bellew.
"It's quite shocking. He's young enough at 33 to have a couple more big fights. I'm not sure he's No 1 pound-for-pound, but he's right up there with all the panellists when they are asked who is the best fighter in the world. Andre Ward comes right at the top of the list. You would think that he's got two, maybe three more big paydays out there for him, but is it too hard on his body, or has he just fallen out of love with the sport? I don't know what his actual reason is, but it's a bit of a shock I suppose," Froch told Sky Sports.
"Andre Ward was a very good fighter, tough to hit. When I boxed him I could barely land a glove on him and it was a very awkward, tricky, horrible night. With that style, it doesn't really get the juices flowing. It doesn't really get people excited. I don't think the TV broadcasters really gave him much love in America. It's a shame because he was a great addition to the light-heavyweight division, beating Kovalev in his last fight, albeit with three low blows! He still beat him.
"I won't be sad to see the back of him. It's not sour grapes. I know he beat me, but I never really got that excited when he boxed. He's retired at the top and not everyone gets to do that. I retired at the top and sometimes it's the best way to go out."