The heavy hitters in the heavyweight division hold all the belts, but have yet to meet each other in the ring
‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard believes Anthony Joshua could miss out on ‘a fight made in heaven’ if he does not face Deontay Wilder.
A summer showdown between the two unbeaten heavyweights was mooted this summer, but ultimately failed to materialise.
Joshua instead faced mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin at Wembley, with Wilder since claiming the Brit is a ‘coward’ who didn’t want to face him.
Leonard, who is undoubtedly one of the greatest of all time, cemented his legacy by controversially defeating reigning middleweight king Marvin Hagler in 1987.
And, speaking exclusively to The Sun, the former five-weight world champion warned Joshua he could be missing out on a legacy-defining fight.
“Look, if he never faces Wilder it wouldn’t be a total black mark but… it’s like me,” he said.
“The reason I came back was because I wanted to fight the best in Marvellous Marvin Hagler.
“For me, being a fighter, I was just driven by that desire to fight the best. Hagler was the last one I wanted to go up against so I made sure it happened.
“It’s kind of a stamp of approval; people remember how you fared against the power. Did you take it? Wilder is a serious puncher and that would be a fight that fans would love to see.
“We just don’t know who wins – 1,000 people said Sugar Ray would win, then 1,000 people said Hagler was going to win.
“When you have that flip-flopping around, that’s when you know the fight just has to happen.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn insists ‘AJ’ wants the fight with Wilder, who now defends his WBC heavyweight title against Tyson Fury on December 1 in Las Vegas.
With a second Wembley date booked for April 13, fight fans around the world will surely be clamouring for a Joshua v Wilder spectacular (provided the American can outwit Fury).
And you can guarantee ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard will be back in the front row if the fight finally comes to fruition.
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“It’s a fight made in heaven,” he continued.
“It would be up there with all the heavyweight fights in history. The numbers would be incredible. Not just financially but the turnout and anticipation of that match-up would be incredible.
“I truly hope it happens.”