Andre Ward in 2017. Dec 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Retired boxer Andre Ward on the sideline before the game between the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Another prominent ESPN figure is moving on. That network saw layoffs of around 20 under-contract big-name personalities Friday, including Jeff Van Gundy, Max Kellerman, Suzy Kolber and more. Their ongoing cost-cutting has also included mentions of not renewing expiring contracts, and that seems to be part of what’s behind boxing analyst Andre Ward announcing early Sunday morning that the Top Rank fight card he worked Saturday (centered on Jared Anderson’s fight with Charles Martin) was the last one under his contract:

As noted there, Ward had been working for ESPN for six years since his 2017 retirement. He had an incredible career as a boxer, winning five world championships and an Olympic gold medal, and he was spotlighted in a Showtime/Uninterrupted documentary S.O.G.: The Book of Ward that premiered last month. He’d also made a nice transition to the media world, and even to the acting world, appearing in both Creed and Creed II. He told AA’s Michael Grant in May that he’s proud of how he reached boxing and then media stardom despite a difficult childhood in Oakland:

“It’s not how you start. It’s really how you respond to adversity and how you finish. You can grow up in a situation that is less than ideal and it doesn’t have to define you. A lot of things happened early on in my life and even things that I did by my own hands. The story could have been written differently. I’m grateful that we’re here talking about it today.”

While Ward’s departure from ESPN doesn’t seem to be one of these specific layoffs, it is certainly at a time where the network is undergoing this wider cost-cutting. And while it’s unclear what exactly is ahead for Ward right now, there certainly could be plenty of new projects for him. And those might be inside or outside of sports media.

Ward, 39, told Grant in May “I feel like I have an acting bug.” So there might be more ahead for him on that side. He’s also proven himself quite well as a boxing analyst at this point, and could be an interesting addition there for other networks or promotions. We’ll see where he goes from here, and we’ll see where ESPN’s boxing coverage goes as well.

[Andre Ward on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.