Amidst the massive and at times shocking ESPN decisions late last week to either fire or not renew the contract of numerous high profile TV hosts and analysts, hall of fame former world light heavyweight champion and ESPN boxing analyst Andre Ward was among them.
Ward, who’s been with the network since 2017, announced after Saturday night’s Top Rank show in Toledo, Ohio, that his contract has not been renewed and he will no longer be part of their boxing coverage moving forward.
SOG ✌🏽 pic.twitter.com/cEso7BwuZF
— Andre S.O.G. Ward (@andreward) July 2, 2023
“Tonight’s show was the last fight under my ESPN contract. It’s been a great ride and I’m going to miss the whole ESPN crew that I’ve worked with for the last six years,” Ward wrote.
“I’m excited about my future and the chance to work on new projects and endeavors. Great things are ahead.”
Ward’s announcement on social media is part of 20 different on-air personalities, some of them the most recognizable faces on ESPN’s broadcasts, that were being notified they were no longer in the network’s future plans. This included, long time Emmy award-winning NBA lead analyst and former coach Jeff Van Gundy, long time NFL “Monday Night Countdown” host Susie Kolber and the likes of former star players turn analysts like NBA star Jalen Rose, NFL WR Keyshawn Johnson, hall of fame QB Steve Young and hockey hall of famer Chris Chelios, all won’t continue with ESPN.
Hear Dan Rafael’s thoughts on the Ward/ESPN layoffs with me off the latest “Fight Freaks Unite Recap Podcast” by clicking play below,
As for Ward, he’s a former US Olympic Gold Medalist, who won World titles at super middleweight and light heavyweight from 2009-17. He retired from the ring after defeating Sergey Kovalev for the second straight fight in June 2017, walking away with an undefeated 32-0 mark as a pro. He immediately joined the ESPN coverage of boxing and Ward has become a staple with play-by-play man Joe Tessitore and fellow hall of fame former welterweight champion, Timothy Bradley.
It is interesting that Ward chose not to say anything on the ESPN Airwaves before, during or after the Saturday night broadcast that saw Jared Anderson be tested before winning a unanimous decision over veteran Charles Martin in the main event from Toledo Ohio.
Ward, who also just had a full-length documentary done by Showtime sports about his life and career, could end up being part of Showtimes’ boxing coverage in the future. There are also numerous other outlets televising the sport in the United States that may be very interested in having Ward come on board as a fight analyst.