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The Greatest, the Baddest and the best: 6 undisputed heavyweight champions

PARIS – Victory for either Oleksandr Usyk or Tyson Fury on Saturday will create the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in 24 years.

The ever-bubbling alphabet soup of boxing sanctioning bodies —a winner in Riyadh would become the first four-belt heavyweight champion — means that becoming, and remaining, undisputed champion requires not just skill and toughness in the ring, but acumen outside it.

A winner will join a select group. Here, AFP Sport picks six of the undisputed best.

Jack Dempsey (Undisputed champion from Jan 1921 to Sept 1926, 3 defenses)

The hard-hitting and aggressive Jack Dempsey became the first official world champion at the start of 1921, when the American National Boxing Association and the powerful New York State Athletic Commission agreed to recognize a world champion. The "Manassa Mauler", with a right nicknamed "Iron Mike" and a left hook dubbed "Big Bertha", had become “lineal” world champion, in boxing parlance "Beating The Man to become The Man" when he bludgeoned Jess Willard in 1919. But the newly minted official status helped turn his first sanctioned defense, against Frenchman Georges Carpentier, into the first "million-dollar fight". He defended his title twice more, before losing twice to Gene Tunney and retiring.

Joe Louis (June 1937 to March 1949, 26 defenses)

After the first African American heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson lost to Willard in 1915, no black boxer fought for the title until 1937, because Joe Louis, who had just lost to Max Schmeling, was a more palatable challenger for Cinderella Man James Braddock's title than the German. Louis knocked out Braddock to claim a title he held for record 26 defenses over more than 12 years. The most famous was the first-round revenge demolition of Schmeling at Yankee Stadium in 1938. Louis was smart, calm, technically sound, and packed a ferocious punch. "Everyone has a plan until they've been hit," he said.

Rocky Marciano (Sept 1952 to April 1956, 6 defenses)

After war service, an undistinguished amateur career and a baseball tryout with the Chicago Cubs, the boxer, who changed his name from Rocco Marchegiano, turned professional just before his 25th birthday in