Andre Ward will go out on top.
The legendary Oakland boxer announced on Thursday that he will be “leaving” boxing with an undefeated record and the unified light heavyweight world title.
“As I walk away from the sport of boxing today, I leave at the top of your glorious mountain, which was always my vision and my dream,” Ward said in a statement posted to his website. “I did it. We did it.”
The pound-for-pound king with a 32-0 record (16 knockouts) said his body couldn’t continue to handle the beating it took while preparing for fights. That led to him to lose his passion. And a competitor can’t lose his drive to succeed in the combat sports.
“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,” Ward said on ESPN’s First Take. “At this point, it’s time, and I know it’s time.”
— Andre S.O.G. Ward (@andreward) September 21, 2017
Ward was born in The City but is an icon in the East Bay after boxing in Oakland and attending high school in Hayward.
His fighting career rose to prominence in 2004, when he won an Olympic gold medal in boxing during the Athens Games.
In the years that followed, Ward excelled as a professional. His last two fights, both against Sergey Kovalev, solidified his legacy.
In the first, he won a dubious unanimous decision, but he quieted his doubters in the rematch in June by knocking out his opponent.
Ward frequently attends Golden State Warriors games and even shot promotional videos with the players after a practice last season. He also served as a hype man in the Dubs’ pregame videos during their playoff run to a championship last season.
“Salute to @andreward on checking off everything he ever wanted to do in the ring. #missionaccomplished,” Stephen Curry posted on Twitter.