Klitschko will give Joshua his first real test, but is it a fight too far?

Several retired, injured and damaged heavyweights gathered at ringside to watch Anthony Joshua take care of Eric Molina in the third with a right and a couple of left hooks at midnight on Saturday in Manchester.

In the middle of the hefty gathering sat Wladimir Klitschko, one of the very best champions in history, and when the fight was over he agreed to meet Joshua next April outdoors at Wembley Stadium. It was a perfect end to a great night of fights.

In the ring Joshua was calm and then destructive against Molina, who was disturbingly too willing to move away and not try too hard. Joshua is a hard puncher at this level and Molina should have known that, and crafted a strategy of some type. The American looked and fought like a fat journeyman and that is a disgrace at this level. Joshua finished it in style, but Molina offered nothing.

Joshua was brilliant without having to think or fight too hard. He has been brilliant without having to think or fight too hard in every single one of his 18 professional wins, and that is a problem as he starts to count down the days before meeting Big Wlad.

At ringside Tyson Fury, the man that so clinically ended Klitschko's reign as world champion last November, was unimpressed. "He is beating bums, come on, Molina was a bum. How can he be praised for that?" he asked.

It has to be said that Joshua packs venues with his faithful and they are a truly devoted flock. Nobody boos the endings, nobody complains when men fall over without landing a punch. It is odd, a superb crowd to own and Joshua does own them.

David Haye was also working at ringside -- not 10 feet from his verbal rival Tony Bellew -- and he was full of praise for Joshua. "He does nothing wrong, he takes care of business -- he is impressive," confirmed Haye.

Men like Molina litter Haye's record and Fury is right. However, Molina did survive nine rounds with Deontay Wilder, the WBC champion, and that is always a measure, a distorted form guide if you like. Molina is an honest pro and a nice guy but he is also possibly the most fortunate boxer to ever get two chances at winning the world heavyweight title.

There were millions of words spoken, written and broadcast and they formed a river of congratulations late into the Manchester night. It is possible that Joshua and his team and Klitschko and his team are both 100 percent certain that the other man has made a critical error in agreeing the fight. All great fights in history are dependent and need this warped alchemy at their core.

The outcome, let's be honest, is dependent on Klitschko, who will be 41 when they fight, and whether he is too old, too slow and simply unable to do what he has done for the best part of 20 years. That is not an early excuse, it is just a simple observation based on what nature does to a fighting man's huge body during 68 fights.

Klitschko in 2006 plays with Joshua, who is still a novice. That's fact, not invention, by the way. The crowd of 80,000 do not necessarily have to agree with the truth, they just need to be there in hope to praise their hero.

It is trickier to understand Klitschko's desire to take the fight if his body is as shattered, weary and aching as it seems to be. Right now, his legacy is glorious; his horrible defeats were a long, long time ago and the loss to Fury last November was at the end of a 12-round chess match. There is the very real chance that Big Wlad could find himself ruthlessly bounced all over the white Wembley ring if his fighting days are over -- and that hurts any legacy.

There is also the very real chance that Joshua will end up walking heavily in the sad tracks left by Frank Bruno in the same venue all those years ago when the ring knowledge of Tim Witherspoon proved too much for Bruno's muscles, hope and endless support.

Somebody, somewhere, has made the wrong calculation and that means that somebody, somewhere, has made the right decision; next April we will all find out when a great event just might be a great fight. Saturday's defence of the IBF heavyweight title will be long, long forgotten.