Evander Holyfield says Deontay Wilder is the best heavyweight in the world ... and he believes that because the most skilled guy, Anthony Joshua, is too scared to put it on the line to be the best.
We got the Real Deal at LAX, and asked the former 4-time Heavyweight champ who he thinks is the best fighter out of Wilder, Joshua, and the unkillable Tyson Fury.
Holyfield seems to think the argument is between Wilder and Joshua and gives Deontay the edge because of one HUGE problem he has with AJ.
"Skills-wise, I can say Anthony Joshua, but he won't fight. Until you fight somebody it don't really make a difference."
Evander isn't the only one critical of Joshua's matchmaking ... AJ has been widely mocked for ducking Wilder, and now some people don't think he's in any rush to fight Fury either.
Random boxing Twitter peeps are one thing ... criticism from a top heavyweight fighter of all-time? That might be enough to make Joshua pay attention.
BTW -- AJ does have a real fight on the horizon. He's fighting Jerrell "Big Baby" Miller later this year, and that's not gonna be a cakewalk AT ALL.