By Mark Staniforth
Much fanfare will herald the final of the Super Six tournament in Atlantic City next month when Carl Froch and Andre Ward square off for the supposed status of the world's number one super-middleweight.
Except there is one problem.
He is 6ft 1in and comes from Canada, and his name is Lucian Bute. While the other top super middleweight fighters have been embroiled in their increasingly contrived competition, Bute has stolen their thunder.
Now the winner of Froch v Ward - much as it is an admirable fight in itself - will not find himself crowned king of the super-middleweights, rather merely next in line to face the classy, unbeaten Bute.
The 31-year-old Bute, who defends his IBF title against veteran Glen Johnson in Quebec on November 5, could be forgiven for mocking the unification event having been surprisingly overlooked for the original line-up.
While the Super Six was hit by a series of retirements and injuries, Bute pressed on with a series of impressive defences, and will go into his fight with Johnson on the back of six straight wins inside the distance.
But while Bute remains on the outside looking in, he believes those fine victories have proved his point.
"Glen Johnson has so much credibility that I almost finally feel I am part of the Super Six," Bute said.
Bute, who is a long-time sparring partner of Johnson, has made recent attempts to fight the former Super Six contestant and Froch conqueror Mikkel Kessler, plus former undisputed middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.
Bute added: "We made several offers. I don't know why they turned it down and at the end of the day they would have been great fights. But at the end of the day I'm very happy we ended up with Glen Johnson."
Bute, who has become a hero in Canada, was born in Pechea, Romania and returned there for only the second time as a professional when he stopped Jean Paul Mendy in July in Bucharest.
Bute added: "Everybody knows I call my home Montreal and Quebec City. I feel comfortable fighting here, but it was a great experience and a privilege to go and fight in Romania."
The 42-year-old Johnson has his own reasons for wanting to beat Bute and get back involved in the Super Six. He was beaten via majority decision by Froch in the pair's last fight in Atlantic City in June.
But while the winner of Froch and Ward is very much on Bute's radar, he rejects the suggestion that he needs to do a better job on Johnson in order to enhance his status as world number one at 12st.
"I don't feel any pressure at trying to do better than Carl Froch," Bute added. "I have my own style and he has his own style. I am not going to put on any additional pressure to do better than him.
"I've always been looking to fight everybody. I want to fight the best fighters in the world. There are lots of fights still available for me at 168-pounds, but if they're not available it's not my problem."
Mark Staniforth covers boxing for Press Association Sport
Tags: Lucian Bute , Glen Johnson , Bute-Johnson , Bute vs Johnson