After whipping a rival in a brawl, Chicago teen Tommy Riley (James Marshall) is asked to box in the illegal fights organized by Jimmy Horn (Brian Dennehy). Tommy has bigger aspirations, but when Jimmy agrees to cover the betting debts his father (John Heard) incurred, Tommy agrees. He soon befriends Abraham Lincoln Haines (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a black boxer helping to support his family. When Jimmy realizes that the friends are his two top draws, he matches them in a bout neither wants.
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