Andre Ward walked away from boxing earlier this month, and he may have done so before participating in one of the biggest heavyweight fights of all time.
Ward is one of the greatest light heavyweight boxers of all time after racking up 32 consecutive victories throughout his career, with 16 of those wins coming by way of knockout. The former Olympic gold medalist's final two fights of his career saw him hand Sergey Kovalev the only two losses of his career. The first coming by way of controversial unanimous decision and the second by knockout. After racking up an undefeated record, winning an Olympic Gold Medal, and defeating some of the greatest of all time, he has decided to walk away from the sport.
The 33-year-old may be on the back end of his career, but Anthony Joshua is only 27 years of age and is barely getting started. Joshua is an Olympic Gold Medalist in his own right, and has racked up 19-straight wins in his undefeated career and finished them all via knockout.
A potential match-up between Ward and Joshua could have been a massive fight for the sport of boxing, and according to HBO's longtime analyst Jim Lampley, this was a serious thought in Ward's head before he retired (quotes via Boxing Scene):
"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," Lampley told BoxingScene.com.
"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.
"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.
"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."
What are your thoughts on Ward walking out before the possibility of a fight against the likes of Anthony Joshua? Would you like to have seen that bout? Who do you think would have emerged victorious? Let us know in the comments section below!
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