By Radio Rahim
Last week the boxing world received a shocker, when unified light heavyweight champion Andre Ward announced his retirement from the sport.
According to Ward, the desire was no longer there and his body could no longer put up with the physical demands of the sport.
Ward, only 33 years old, is the reigning WBA, IBF and WBO champion and is widely regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world. Most respected lists have him tabbed as the top pound-for-pound fighter in boxing.
Ward leaves the sport after recording back-to-back wins over Sergey Kovalev, hanging up his gloves with a perfect 32-0 record.
In an interview with ESPN's First Take, Ward said the intensive training camps for title fights had taken a steady toll on his body.
"People see what I do fight night. 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," Ward said.
"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 was the last American male boxer to win an Olympic gold medal - back in the 2004 Olympic games.
During his run, he was a unified champion at super middleweight and then light heavyweight. He won the Super Six tournament with wins over the top 168-pounders in the world - including Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, Sakio Bika and Arthur Abraham.
One of Ward's idols, former four division world champion Roy Jones Jr., believes the unbeaten boxer deserves a high position in boxing history.
"I don't know where his place in boxing history is, but it's near the top because he was very dominant in his time. There were not many things that people could do to him. He beat a lot of people in a lot of different ways. He showed a lot of versatility. He was a great fighter, one of the greatest champions to me, pound for pound the best, and I thought he had a brilliant career," Jones explained to BoxingScene.com.