Froch's rocky road to recognition
Joe Calzaghe, before he swapped his boxing boots for dancing pumps and went from the Fred Astaire of the canvas to the R2-D2 of the ballroom, would often opine that he'd missed the bandwagon, that if he'd been around to test his skills against a prime Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn and Steve Collins, then no-one would have had the gall to question his greatness.
Having been forced to sit through his performances to date on Strictly, it is doubtful he feels the same way about missing the vintage mid-Noughties era of Gough, Dawson and Ramprakash, that legendary triumvirate of the lacquered floorboard.
But in refusing to cave in to Carl Froch's increasingly shrill demands for a match-up in the twilight of his career, Welshman Calzaghe unwittingly (or wittingly?) transferred his frustrations to the Nottingham fighter, who remains criminally undervalued in his own country, despite his status as the WBC super-middleweight champion.
"I'm ready for anyone, even Joe Calzaghe if he can be bothered getting out of his armchair," said the 32-year-old Froch following his thrilling last-gasp stoppage of Jermain Taylor in April.
"Dirrell (left) has done most of the trash-talking in the build-up to the fight
Minutes after sealing victory over a former undisputed middleweight champion in the American's own backyard, and still Froch, consciously or otherwise, realised only victory over Calzaghe would deliver him the attention and respect of the wider British public.
On Saturday at the Trent FM Arena in Nottingham, Froch defends his title against 27-year-old American Andre Dirrell, a bronze medallist at the 2004 Olympics and the man who is fulfilling the role of 'dark horse' in the innovative Super Six tournament masterminded by American broadcaster Showtime.
Froch's promoter Mick Hennessy has complained "broadcasters should be rugby tackling us" to screen his charge's fights, but they're not biting. His ding-dong with Taylor was streamed on the internet, his match with Dirrell is on fledgling satellite channel Primetime.
And having finally accepted that Calzaghe will not be providing a leg-up to greatness, Froch is hoping Dirrell will be the first step on the path to the recognition he and others in the fight game feel he deserves.
The Super Six concept is that rare thing, a triumph of common sense and concord in boxing. The negotiation phase must have made 12 Angry Men look as fractious as the judging process at an unusually-shaped vegetable competition, but somehow the managers of the six participating fighters rose above any differences and came up trumps.
The tournament is set to last two years and involves all six combatants fighting three times in a round-robin format before the top four go through to the semi-final stage and then the final. Who goes through to the semi-finals will be decided on points, with three points awarded for a knockout victory, two for a decision and one for a draw.
The fact a fighter can advance to the semi-finals with a loss on his record provides a safety net, but, to look at it another way, it also negates the dire consequences of a blemish on the record, the bete noire of the modern boxer. Top marks for a knockout should also ensure exciting fights.
Those responsible for the format deserve a pat on the back, and you don't often say that about those in charge of the sport. Just don't pat them too hard: not being used to it, they may think they've been shot.
Similar has been tried before, most recently in 2001, when Bernard Hopkins defeated Felix Trinidad in the final of a four-man, single elimination middleweight tournament which was the brainchild of Don King.
Hopkins' victory left no-one in any doubt as to who the main man in the middleweight division was and set him on the path to greatness. And it provided what is so often missing from boxing and what boxing fans crave more than anything: clarity.
With six men throwing a combined 163-4-1 record into the ring, with three world champions (Froch, WBA title-holder Mikkel Kessler and IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham) and two undefeated Olympic medallists (Dirrell and Andre Ward) in the mix, no-one should be in any doubt as to who the best super-middleweight in the world is when all is said and done.
The second part of Saturday's Super Six double-header will be Taylor v Abraham in Berlin, but it's Kessler, who opens up against Ward on 21 November, who is favourite to be last man standing.
Kessler gave Calzaghe one of his toughest fights in 2007, and perhaps only in defeating the Dane in the tournament final will Froch score himself onto the nations' consciousness.
Dirrell, who is unbeaten in 18 fights with 13 knockouts, will pose problems with his speed, as Taylor did for most of his encounter with Froch.
But Froch has a sturdy beard, hits hard and, as he proved in defeating Jean Pascal in 2008 to claim his world title and stopping Taylor with just 14 seconds to go when behind on the scorecards, has perhaps the biggest heart of any British fighter since Eubank.
Froch is right to be frustrated. He should be a household name, only the vagaries of his sport decree that he isn't. But you never know, victory in the Super Six might just budge "Old Joe" from his armchair and send him scurrying under the stairs for his boxing boots again.