Lampley: Ward Talked Idea Of Joshua Fight
The voice of HBO Boxing, Jim Lampley was one of many in the boxing community that were surprised when light heavyweight champion Andre Ward announced his retirement last week.
Following Ward’s definitive stoppage victory over Sergey Kovalev back in June, Virgil Hunter, Ward’s trainer made a bold claim by telling reporters that his boxer could defeat Anthony Joshua.
Ward long since wanted to attempt what one of his idols, Roy Jones Jr. accomplished, which was jumping from light heavyweight to capture a heavyweight world title.
When speaking to Boxing Scene, Lampley confirmed that Ward was indeed serious about facing Joshua and only a few short weeks ago was even discussing how he would try to beat the UK standout.
“A few weeks ago when we were working together in Carson, at the StubHub with the super flyweight tripleheader, he was the expert commentator on that [HBO] show. I was riding back and forth with him from our hotel to the arena, and he was telling me about of the fights that he would be interested in taking – and specifically telling me how he would beat Anthony Joshua in an adventure fight against a heavyweight… They were fascinating discussions and there was nothing in that content which suggested to me that he was thinking of stepping away. But, he has always been supremely his own person. I think nobody makes a decision for Andre Ward other than Andre Ward. Even Virgil Hunter, his head trainer and surrogate father, he doesn’t make the call – Andre makes the call.”
Lampley and Ward spoke in the hours leading up to the latter’s announcement and Ward made it clear that this is not a money grab.
“When I spoke to him Wednesday night, the night before he made the announcement. He told me that in no uncertain terms that this was a personal decision based on his needs as a human being, his desire to spend more time with his family, he really wants to be the most responsible parent in the world.”
When asked for his feelings, Lampley explained that he is not sad to watch one of the greatest fighters of Ward’s generation or potentially any generation walk away.
“I’m pretty thrilled. I’ve watched Lennox Lewis do this, walk away on his own terms. Joe Calzaghe has done it. Tim Bradley may fall into that category if he can stay away. About a year and a half ago, Andre Ward said to me that the triple crown for a boxer – is to retire with your legacy, with your faculties and your finances intact. He meant it and that’s what he’s done.”