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While waiting in a beauty parlor for his beloved Mitzie, fight manager Knobby Walsh tells a police officer the story of how he met her: During a boxing match between Knobby's fighter, Joe Palooka, and Jackie Mathews, Joe accidentally delivers a fatal blow to his opponent and believes that he is responsible for the fighter's death. The truth, however, is that Jackie was murdered by gamblers John Mitchell and Howard Abbott, who, with the help of Max Steele, Jackie's manager, drugged the fighter before the match. Max, who became involved in the scheme only after he was blackmailed by the gamblers, is furious with Mitchell and Abbott, who promised him that Jackie would only be incapacitated by the drug, and not killed. Meanwhile, Knobby's ill-mannered friend, Sam "Glass Jaw" Wheeler, arrives to console Joe, who has become so distraught that he has threatened to quit fighting for good. Sam's efforts to cheer Joe up fail, though, and Joe becomes so upset that he leaves his sweetheart, Anne Howe. He wanders around aimlessly until he receives a message to meet singer Nina Carroll, Jackie's fiancée, at the Little Bohemian Club. When Nina tells Joe that Jackie was murdered, he has her repeat the revelation to Knobby, Anne and the police. Joe and Knobby then go to the Hotel Cruzon to investigate the murder on their own, and they learn that Max checked out of the hotel days ago. Joe, desperate to find clues that will lead him to Jackie's murderers, interviews taxi drivers who may have taken Max as a passenger on the night he checked out of the hotel. But the investigation soon interferes with Joe's training for his next big fight against Cardona. Joe eventually finds the taxi driver who drove Max on the night of his disappearance, but the driver's information proves worthless when Joe retraces Max's steps and comes up with nothing. Meanwhile, Mitchell hires Nina to sing at his Maraccas Club in order to keep an eye on her. The first real break in the case nearly surfaces when Joe receives a call from Jackie's brother Eddie Steele, who is about to tell him where Max can be found when he is knifed by one of Abbott's men. Later, Sam reveals that he is a police investigator and urges Joe to call off his next fight because he believes that the person who killed Eddie is the same person who killed Jackie, and that Joe is the next intended victim. Because Joe takes no heed of the warning, however, Anne walks out on him. Before the fight, Mitchell and another one of Abbott's men, Pusher Moore, are caught in the locker room by Looie, who sees them tampering with Joe's gum protector. Looie is knocked unconscious by the two and is later hospitalized. Upon learning of the attack on Looie, Max takes revenge on the gamblers by killing Mitchell and Moore. Nina, now certain that Abbott is responsible for Jackie's death, pulls a gun on him, but is spared having to pull the trigger when Abbott's dog jumps on him, causing him to accidentally shoot himself. Meanwhile, during the boxing match, Joe is warned in time about his tainted mouth piece, and after he is assured that Looie will recover, he fights his way to the championship title. Knobby ends his story by telling the police officer that Mitzie is the name of Abbott's dog, which he now owns.