Unified light heavyweight world champion Andre Ward said he's "leaving" boxing in a statement posted to his website Thursday.
I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport and therefore my desire to fight is no longer there. If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting. Above all, I give God the Glory, for allowing me to do what I’ve done, for as long as I have.
Ward, a two-time super middleweight world champion and 2004 Olympic gold medalist, is coming off back-to-back victories over Sergey Kovalev. Ward, 33, claimed three light heavyweight title belts with a controversial decision against Kovalev in November 2016, and knocked Kovalev out in the eighth round of their June rematch.
Unbeaten since he was a 12-year-old amateur, the California native (32-0, 16 KOs) is widely considered the sport's top active pound-for-pound fighter.
Ward's statement was accompanied by a video on Twitter.
Ward's most notable victories include outclassing Carl Froch in December 2011 to unify two super middleweight world titles and earn the trophy in the Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament. In September 2012, he scored three knockdowns and ultimately stopped then-WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, who was moving down in weight.
However, Ward's career was hampered by lengthy layoffs due to injuries and a promotional dispute. He took 19 months off following a win over Edwin Rodriguez in November 2013, and spent an additional nine months out of action after knocking out Paul Smith in June 2015.