Former pound for pound top dog Andre Ward is not looking back to his recent days as an active boxer despite admitting retirement has been harder than he first thought.
The self-styled ‘S.O.G’ decided to leave the sport at the summit after claiming boxing’s number one spot on the back of back-to-back victories over Russian puncher Sergey Kovalev in 2016 and 2017.
Six months into his stint as a former prizefighter, Ward has revealed he thought long and hard before making his choice to leave and expected it would be tough, initially.
“( I have) No second thoughts (but) retirement is a lot harder than I thought it would be,” Ward told HBO’s Jim Lampley on The Fight Game.
“I studied retiring. There is a detox that has to take place. I have been doing this 23 years straight…then all of a sudden it’s gone.
“It’s a process, but it is a process that I felt I had to undertake and I am up for the challenge. I just hope to be someone the younger fighters can point to and say, ‘He did it the right way,’“ added the two-weight undefeated world champion.
At the tender age of 33, many eyebrows were raised when Ward turned away from a lucrative move up to the heavyweight division where ex-cruiserweight ruler Tony Bellew had called him out.
According to reports, Ward v Bellew talks were held, although the American ultimately came to the conclusion he wanted to preserve his legacy and not prolong his career unnecessarily.
The likes of Roy Jones Jr. and Evander Holyfield, both former kings of the sport, faced criticism for carrying on too long and Ward seems happy with his resolution after reaching the pinnacle of pugilism earlier this year.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay