Boxing royalty Sugar Ray Leonard says Anthony Joshua must seek out the toughest challenges available if he wants to be regarded as one of the heavyweight greats, reports ringnews24.com.
The American, who defeated Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran and Wilfred Benitez en route to compiling a 36-3-1 (25) boxing record in the glory, won world titles in every weight class from welterweight through to light heavyweight during his colourful 20-year pro career.
Sugar Ray insists that the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion must fight abroad if he really wants to establish his legacy in the sport.
“It all boils down to what Anthony Joshua wants and what he believes in,” said Leonard.
“You have to ask him the question: what do you want to be? How do you want people to remember you?
“Do you want to just be remembered here or global? I’m sure it’s global.
“In America they know the name Anthony Joshua but they have not all seen him.
“There are a lot of boxing fans, millions of boxing fans, but they have not all seen what he is about yet.”
Negotiations have already broken down between Joshua’s camp and American WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, and it’s a fight that Sugar Ray likens to his own career-defining clash with undisputed middleweight king ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler in 1987.
“Look, if he never faces Wilder it wouldn’t be a total black mark but… it’s like me,” Leonard said. “The reason I came back was because I wanted to fight the best in Marvelous 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.”
Wilder takes on British former heavyweight champ Tyson Fury on Dec 1, and the American noted that Joshua would be under pressure to fight him nest year.