Sports: Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard warns Anthony Joshua he MUST face Deontay Wilder to secure legacy Ray Leonard is desperate to see a fight between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, and has warned the Brit it will affect his legacy if he doesn’t face the American.

There have been talks over a showdown between the two unbeaten heavyweights for the past year, but a deal to face off has ultimately failed to materialise.

Joshua’s has one more opponent in his quest to become undisputed world champion

After failing to secure a bout with Wilder, Joshua instead faced mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin in September, 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 if he never comes to an agreement with Wilder.

“Look, if he never faces Wilder it wouldn’t be a total black mark but… it’s like me,” he said.

Wilder has knocked out every man he has ever faced in the ring

“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.

The Hagler v Leonard clash was a battle for the ages, watched by approximately 300 million people around the world

“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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