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Heavyweight boxing champion Joe Palooka and his friend Tiny are jogging through the countryside when they hear shots and see two gangsters speeding away, leaving a dead body in the bushes. At Joe's training camp, his manager, Knobby Walsh, implores Joe to forget what he saw, but Joe insists on calling the sheriff. When a search of the area fails to turn up the body, Joe goes to see the district attorney, who says Joe's description of the dead man matches George Miller, who was about to testify against Robert "Bubbles" Conway and Pete Muske. Bubbles and Pete are brought in for questioning, but their lawyer, Michael Brogdon, offers an alibi for the thugs and suggests that Joe made the whole thing up as a publicity stunt. When the newspapers print Brogdon's allegation, Joe's wife Anne shows up at the camp, and at Knobby's request, she asks Joe to stop speaking out about the murder. Addressing a group of reporters, he tries to change his story, but when they speculate that Joe has sold out to the mob, he breaks his promise to Anne and tells the truth. The next morning, Joe and Tiny are ambushed by Bubbles and Pete, and Tiny is killed. Later, as Joe's friend, Humphrey Pennyworth, is fishing in the lake, he reels in Miller's body, and the district attorney orders Bubbles and Pete's arrest. Mob leader Charlie Crawford calls Knobby and offers to turn the killers in if Joe will throw his upcoming title match, and, fearing for their lives, Knobby nervously agrees to the deal. Bubbles and Pete are indicted for murder, but after Pete's girl friend Sandra visits him in jail and tells him that Crawford betrayed him, he overpowers a guard and escapes. The night of the big fight, Knobby is kidnapped and taken to Crawford's office to watch the game on television. Knobby offers to pay Crawford off, explaining that Joe is unaware of their arrangement, but Crawford says a lot of mob money is riding on Joe's opponent, Pinky Thompson. Kebo, one of Crawford's henchmen, arrives at the ring to keep an eye on Joe, and as the fight is about to begin, he pushes a sponge that has been treated with drugs into Joe's face. Disoriented from the drugs, Joe takes a beating for several rounds. Meanwhile, Pete storms into Crawford's office and kills him, and Knobby escapes and brings the police to the ring. Crawford's men are arrested, and after Knobby revives him with smelling salts, Joe goes on to win the match. In the locker room, Knobby suggests that Joe leave the country because Pete is on the loose. Pete ambushes Joe in the shower, but Joe beats him up, and he and Anne decide to take a much-needed vacation.