Ward Discusses The Difficulty In Retiring
The idea of retirement was easier for Andre Ward than actually retiring from boxing, as it has been harder than Andre Ward anticipated. Yet not so difficult that he regrets his decision.
The undefeated Ward assured HBO’s Jim Lampley during a segment of “The Fight Game” that aired for the first time Wednesday night that he isn’t second-guessing retiring. Ward is 33, young for a retired boxer, and walked away from the sport when he was the top-ranked fighter on most prominent pound-for-pound lists.
“I don’t think there’s second thoughts,” Ward told Lampley.
“But I will tell you this – retirement is a lot harder than I thought it would be. You know, I’ve read about athletes retiring, fighters retiring. I’ve heard about it. I studied it, kind of what’s the right time and those kind of things. But there’s a detox that has to take place. I’ve been doing this 23 years straight, and then, all of a sudden, it’s gone. And it’s a process. But it’s a process that I felt I had to undertake. I’m up for the challenge and I just hope to be someone that the younger fighters can point to and say, ‘He did it the right way.’ ”
Ward announced his retirement on his website September 21, three months following his second controversial victory over Russian knockout artist Sergey Kovalev.
The Oakland native stopped Kovalev in the eighth round of a light heavyweight championship rematch on June 17th in Las Vegas. Ward’s victory came across as controversial, as the champion injured Kovalev badly with a right hand, landed several questionable body blows before referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop their scheduled 12-round rematch.
Ward recovered from a second-round knockdown to win their first fight via unanimous decision in November 2016 also in Las Vegas. That decision sparked great debate because it was a closely contested bout many fans and media believe Kovalev won.
Ward retired with an unblemished professional record. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist was the undisputed super middleweight champion before moving up to win the IBF, WBA and WBO light heavyweight titles from Kovalev.