“I want to be clear—I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport”: Ward

Four months after retiring from boxing, Andre Ward, the former No. 1 pound for pound fighter in the world, gave hints on Twitter that he might be returning to the ring. And he’s apparently bulking up.

This is what Ward tweeted late Tuesday night.

A return to the ring for Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) wouldn’t be that shocking. After all, he’s still only 33 years old, and he’s coming off two of the biggest wins of his career—a controversial decision victory vs. Sergey Kovalev in November 2016 and a knockout vs. Kovalev last June.

A few months after that, Ward said he was done with the sport.

“I want to be clear—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,” Ward said in a statement at the time. “If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting.”

Many observers said they believed Ward, particularly since he’s made good money in his career (in his two fights vs. Kovalev, he earned a combined $11.5 million) and because, as he said in his retirement statement,

“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.”

But boxers, of course, are notorious for changing their minds about retirement, and remember, after knocking out Kovalev, he publicly mused about moving from light heavyweight to heavyweight to perhaps face Anthony Joshua.

Even Ward’s trainer, Barry Hunter, wondered about the possibilities, saying, “I’ve seen some things we can do against Joshua. We wouldn’t even have to put extra weight [on Ward] beyond what he walks around at, about 192 [pounds]. We’d just go right at him.”

Last month, though, Ward discussed his retirement on HBO’s The Fight Game with Jim Lampley and said he hadn’t had second thoughts about his decision. But then he made it kind of sound like he had.

“Retirement is a lot harder than I thought it would be,” he said, via Bad Left Hook. “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. And 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.’”

At this point, it's difficult for anybody outside his camp to know what Ward is planning. Perhaps he’s going to make an announcement about some of his new merchandise. Maybe he’s been on a diet and wants to show off his ripped post-retirement physique. Maybe he’s actually going to fight the Joshua vs. Joseph Parker winner.

His tweets have brought up a lot of questions that he hasn’t yet answered. Which, frankly, is probably what they were designed to do in the first place.