David Haye believes Joe Joyce had no choice but to take on Daniel Dubois now or he would never break into world-title territory.
Joyce, 35, is taking a huge gamble facing the up-and-coming heavyweight star Dubois this weekend in Westminster for the British, Commonwealth and European titles.
The Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist will find it a long road back if he suffers his first professional defeat in his 12th outing.
While Dubois, at 23, has many more years to rebuild if he slips up on Saturday.
But Haye, who signed Joyce to the pro ranks in 2017 before they later parted ways, reckons Joyce had to take the punt.
“I think if he didn't take it then it would have slowed his progression considerably down,” said the former world heavyweight champion.
“Joe Joyce had to take it, he's at the age of 35 and he couldn't wait another 18 months.
“If the move isn't made now he might miss the boat, it might get to the point where he is too old and it won't happen.”
But with risk comes reward, according to Haye who believes victory can catapult his former charge into world-title contention.
“This is the perfect opportunity for Joe Joyce to gate crash the top five in the world heavyweight scene,” he said.
“This will push him towards the top of the pile if he wins.”
The winner could even fight for a world title in their very next bout.
That is if Anthony Joshua is forced to drop the WBO belt in his pursuit of a mega-money clash with Tyson Fury next year.
Oleksandr Usyk, who beat Haye-managed Derek Chisora last month, is mandatory for the belt so he could fight the winner of this weekend's clash.
“I want the man from Britain who is fighting Usyk to be the best man,” said Haye.
“I want the best man of the two from Britain to fight Usyk.”
But for that to be Joyce, Haye reckons the Londoner needs to change his tactics which have got him through his last 11 pro bouts.
He added: “Joyce has to take the mindset out of taking two or three to land.
“That works against a certain opposition but when you start moving up the rankings and face fighters like Dubois, who has knocked almost every one out.
“If you are fighting someone like that you need to be careful.”
BT Sport’s night of heavyweight boxing action on Saturday begins with Daniel Dubois v Joe Joyce on BT Sport 1 from 7:30pm. Tyson v Jones Jr. will be live on BT Sport Box Office from 1am and can be watched on BT TV, Virgin TV, Sky, online via the web or the BT Sport Box Office App. To order both fights visit btsport.com/boxing