Boxing lost another of its light brigade this week as present pound for pound king Andre Ward followed the former in Floyd Mayweather Jr. by departing the sport on a high.
Ward, at just 33 hangs up his gloves with all his faculties intact and heads off into the sunset as an untouchable with plenty of microphone opportunities and personal appearances ahead of him.
The American had always stated his ambition was to claim the top fighter of the planet accolade before getting out on the summit and Ward has done just that, leaving big-punching Gennady Golovkin to take his place.
From claiming gold at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, to a breakout career victory over Mikkel Kessler in the Showtime Super Six Classic tournament, Ward has shone bright since first lacing up the gloves – as if the leather was just meant to be there from day one.
The ease at which Ward controlled the ring was breathtaking at times as the ‘S.O.G’ dominated almost every opponent he faced, with victims including a host of world champions who were at times bamboozled by what they were up against.
Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Chad Dawson and Sergey Kovalev never came close to having their arms raised against the great man, who can walk away with the total respect of his peers, the media, boxing hierachy and fans alike.
A mass of social media posts from fellow professionals in awe of the dignity and grace displayed by Ward in and out of the ring followed the shock announcement on Thursday as boxing comes to terms with the loss of another one of its major stars.
Despite no longer boxing on the network, Showtime gave a glowing tribute to Ward, which came just after current employers at HBO paid a fitting farewell to a modern day legend and future Hall of Famer.
“Andre Ward ends his boxing career as he only knew how to live it — as a champion at the top,” says Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports.
“To watch Ward was to marvel at constant mastery of craft in the ring, to say nothing of his being the consummate role model outside it. The Hall of Fame will be lucky to have him.
“We wish Andre and his family much success and happiness as he explores new opportunities, including with our own HBO family as one of the expert analysts on our broadcast team.
“It was a privilege for HBO to serve as the television platform for many of his landmark achievements in the sport he loves.”
WBN would like to wish Andre Ward well in the future and reiterate the fact he will be sorely missed.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay