A popular misconception is that champion boxers are light on their feet. If they were they would be regularly knocked off them. Should Joe Calzaghe achieve anything whatsoever in his time on Strictly Come Dancing then it will surely be to batter down this myth. Joe is light on his feet like John Inman was heavy on his. That much has become painfully obvious in the first two episodes of the ballroom bun fight. Joe floats like a butterfly wearing cement boots. We can only pray his partner, Kristina Rihanoff, has been bathing her tootsies in vinegar. Right now her dainty size fours must know exactly what everyone means when they say they feel like they've just gone two rounds with Calzaghe.
To say this is a fight too far only begins to describe it. True, we should not be flippant as Calzaghe is not risking his health when stepping into that ring with this dangerous Russian. But his image is suffering irreparable harm.
And for those of us who hold the "Italian Dragon" – aka Old Satchel Feet – as one of Britain's sporting greats that is a crying shame.
Why is he there? He doesn't need the fame, he can't need the money and any prestige must be dubious in Newbridge. He has plainly been terribly advised. By a manager who recalls the sensation of John Sergeant and sees no downside; by a mother who still sees Wayne Sleep pirouetting as her boy trips over his clogs. Somebody throw in the towel, the silk neckerchief or whatever it is they throw in ballroom. Quickly.
The viewers had the chance to do just that on Saturday night. Joe could not have held out much hope when it went to a public vote. Remember, this is the man who after producing what many believe to be the most complete post-war display of any British boxer in pulverising Jeff Lacy, was beaten by a horse to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year prize. Zara Phillips and Dobbin were nowhere to be seen at Broadcasting Centre this time.
Remarkably, the nonsensical public elected Joe to stay. Why? It can only be because they, too, can't wait to watch Joe jumping over the judges' desk and teaching the despicable Craig Revel Horwood all about choreography. Perhaps it wouldn't be the fairest fight of Joe's career. But it would be the most enjoyable.
What gives this double-barrelled little twerp the right to speak to Joe with such disrespect? He is not talking to a cast member of The Bill or some sports newsreader from BBC Breakfast. He is addressing an undefeated world champion.
"I've just got two words to say to you," spluttered Revolving Four-Wood. "Rigor mortis." A witty Latin quip, probably. But it was lost on Joe. He was counting to 10. But by the looks of him he was envisaging a referee counting to 10. Let's just say there was no need for Michael Buffer. He was ready to rumble, if not to rumba.
No, Calzaghe didn't seem to have taken it very well. He is not like Sergeant; he cannot laugh at himself, cannot guffaw at meaningless criticism. And that is unsurprising. Every judging panel he has ever faced has given him the verdict. Now they give him the bird and, worse still, their sympathy. They are not worthy, the programme's not worthy, its voters are not worthy.
To emphasise Strictly's absurdity, the gracious Martina Hingis was sent packing. In favour of Rav Wilding, a lowly presenter whose job it is to whisper over police mugshots and frighten grannies. With the body of Baywatch, Martina got beaten by the face of Crimewatch. Says it all, really.Reuse content