It will be a 14th world title fight for Lucian Bute, but this time the former champion from Laval, Que. has no belt to defend and no home crowd to please.
All the 36-year-old Bute has to lose is his dream of wearing a world champion's belt again.
"Now it's different thing," Bute said. "The champion is Badou Jack and the fight is in Washington, D.C.
"I'm very comfortable with that. I have no pressure."
Bute (32-3-0) faces Jack (20-1-1) on Saturday night at the DC Armory for the Swede's World Boxing Council super-middleweight title. On the same card, Briton James (Chunky) DeGale (22-1-0) defends his International Boxing Federation super-middleweight belt against Rogelio (Porky) Medina of Mexico.
The winners are to meet later in the year to decide the unified champion in the 168-pound division.
Bute, who moved to Montreal from Romania to turn pro in 2003 and got his Canadian citizenship nine years later, won the IBF title in 2007 and defended it nine times until a crushing, fifth-round loss to Carl Froch in England in 2012.
He has fought only four times since then, but name recognition and his status as a former champ served him well. He looked good enough in a four-round win over Andrea Di Luisa last August to earn another title shot. Then he lost by unanimous decision to DeGale in Quebec City on Nov. 28, but kept it close and showed enough of his old skill and flair to be given yet another title chance against Jack.
Jack eked out a narrow win over Anthony Dirrell to take the WBC belt last April and defended it with a split decision victory over George Groves in September. The 32-year-old Swede, who is now based in the U.S., knows he hasn't got much respect in the boxing world, but for now he likes it that way.
"I'm very comfortable, very happy and I'm glad that my opponent is very confident too," he said. "That's what we want him to be — just like the last two opponents. They were very confident."
Bute hasn't spoken of what his future beyond this bout. A loss would surely stir thoughts of retirement. A victory would bring at least one more fight, likely a rematch with DeGale in England. DeGale is the heavy favourite against Medina.
"I know that he's a typical Mexican and a tough Mexican," said DeGale. "I know he loves to have a fight, but every time he steps to the highest level he's been stopped or he's lost.
"I'm not overlooking him. I'm training extremely hard. I'm going to win and look good."
Montreal promoter Yvon Michel is confident that Bute, who many thought was finished after the knockout loss to Froch, will wear a championship belt again.
"He was strong enough to raise up when no one believed he could come back at a high level," said Michel. "He found a new team.
"He reinvented himself. Badou Jack is good, but he won his title on conditioning and defended it on conditioning. No one beats Bute only on conditioning. Bute is faster. He throws combinations better. He's a lefty. He has punching power. It will be a tough fight but I believe Bute will prevail."
Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press