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Pre-release titles of the film were Knockout, Give and Take and Stand Up and Fight. Stand Up and Fight later became the release title of an early 1939 Robert Taylor film that co-starred Wallace Beery (see below). Although Oliver Marsh is listed as the Photographer in the Hollywood Reporter production charts for several weeks at the beginning of the production, only John Seitz is credited on the film and in reviews. A Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Victor Fleming was assigned to direct two additional scenes for the film in mid-July 1938 because director Richard Thorpe was already on another assignment, and that actors Emma Dunn and Paul Fix were to be featured in the scenes. Although the CBCS credits Leona Roberts with the role of "Laura McCoy," that role was played by Dunn in the released film.
According to several reviews, this was the second film in M-G-M's campaign to give screen idol Taylor a more "rugged" image after several years of being called "pretty Robert Taylor" in the press. The first of the films was A Yank at Oxford, released earlier in the year (see below), which also co-starred Maureen O'Sullivan and was one of Taylor's most popular films. At the end of 1938 Taylor was ranked sixth among top box office stars by an Motion Picture Herald exhibitor's poll, having fallen from third place on the same poll in 1937. A news item in Hollywood Reporter noted that the film's release date was Taylor's birthday (his twenty-seventh). Maxie Rosenbloom, Jim McLarin and Jack Roper, who played themselves, were well known boxers of the time. This film has no relation to the 1932 Howard Hawks directed film of the same name. M-G-M made another version of the story under the title Killer McCoy in 1947. That film starred Mickey Rooney in the title role and James Dunne as his father.