Ricky Hatton believed former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury would have beaten Anthony Joshua if he faced him a couple of months after his Wladimir Klitschko win, but he has his doubts now.
Fury last fought in November 2015 when he shocked the world, defeating longtime heavyweight kingpin Klitschko and winning the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles before ultimately giving them up due to a failed drug test and depression issues.
The 29-year-old was, however, recently cleared to fight again in December 2017 after he accepted a two-year backdated suspension from UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) body.
The "Gypsy King" proceeded to call out current WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight champion Joshua soon after he was cleared.
The unbeaten Britons have been trash-talking each other on Twitter for a while now as a potential meeting between the two has been a dream fight for boxing fans, particularly in the UK.
Fury, though, is expected to have a warm-up opponent first upon his eventual return, having issued challenges to Antonio Tarver, 49, and Shannon Briggs, 46. The Manchester native also has to shed the weight he has gained during his hiatus.
Hatton, who went through the same issues before a losing effort in his return to boxing back in 2012, has issued a warning to Fury. "The one thing that worries me is in the two or three years he's had out, has he already done too much damage?" Hatton said, as per Sky Sports. "If he'd fought Anthony Joshua maybe six, seven months after Klitschko, he'd have beaten him.
"Can he claw back the damage he's done with putting on the weight, and whatever's happened in his life, can he get that back? I don't know. It's very hard when you've been doing it for all of them years, and think: 'Here we go again'. It's sometimes very hard to get motivated.
"I lost weight in the gym, in sparring I felt brand new, and then the minute the bell went on fight night, I went: 'This ain't here no more'."
However, Hatton adds that age is on Fury's side and that he could have a different end-result.
"Tyson's still relatively young in heavyweight terms, so hopefully it won't be for Tyson what it was for me," Hatton explained. "But sometimes you don't know whether it's gone until you get in there."