But the past year has seen little progress towards that sort of status. An impressive victory over the mandatory challenger Rick Thornberry tonight at Cardiff International Arena could revive his dream.
If the American television network Showtime like what they see - and Calzaghe avoids a recurrence of the hand injury he suffered in February against Robin Reid - he is set to appear in Atlantic City on 7 August.
"I'm not getting the credit I should be getting," lamented Calzaghe. "When I beat Chris Eubank to win the title he got more praise for losing than I did for beating him. It was the same when I fought Reid."
Also on the bill is local super-featherweight Barry Jones, who was stripped of his WBO belt while suspended last year after a question mark over his brain scan. He meets his fellow Welshman Chris Williams.