Andre Ward retires an unbeaten champion at age of 33 – Orange County Register

Undefeated light heavyweight champion Andre Ward on Thursday morning stunned the boxing world when he announced his retirement at the tender age of 33.
The pride of Oakland made the declaration on ESPN’s “First Take.”
“I think the primary reason is I’ve been boxing for 23 years total time,” said Ward, who won a gold medal in the 2004 Athens Games. “And, obviously, in this sport, as you guys have heard, in many contact sports it takes a toll on you and just the accumulative effects of all the training and all the fights, it just starts to wear on you.
“And when your physical body starts to wear on you, then it starts to take your desire. And when you don’t have the desire and you don’t have the ability physically to go out there and prepare the way you need to, you shouldn’t be in a boxing ring.”
Ward went 32-0 with 16 knockouts, winning titles at super middleweight and light heavyweight. He is coming off back-to-back victories over Sergey Kovalev, meaning he has little left to prove.
“So my goal has always been to walk away from this sport and to retire from the sport and to not let the sport retire me, and I have that opportunity today,” Ward said.
It was pointed out to Ward that he is walking away at a time when he is on top of the boxing world, with millions of dollars still to be made. Again, Ward said it was all about the overall rigors of the sport.
“People see what I do fight night, they see under the lights, but they … don’t see the grind, they don’t see, you know, just the pains, the physical pain you go through,” he said. “Again, not just in the fights, but to prepare and to get ready for those battles.”
Ward said this has particularly been the case over the past two to three years.
“And I’ve bit down and continued to push through,” he said. “And at this point, it’s time and I know it’s time.”
Ward turned pro in 2004. He won the super middleweight title in 2009 with an 11-round technical decision over Mikkel Kessler. He made six successful defenses before moving up in weight. He took Kovalev’s three light heavyweight titles via narrow decision in November in Las Vegas, winning by one point on all three scorecards.
Ward defended those three belts when he stopped Kovalev in the eighth round in June in Las Vegas.
Kovalev was asked at a news conference Thursday in New York City if he was disappointed he won’t get a third shot at Ward. Kovalev is preparing to fight Vyacheslav Shabranskyy on Nov. 25…

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