With Farrell's guidance -- and who would doubt her acumen? -- O'Brien rises up the ranks and becomes an object of high-society curiosity. Like Cagney in 1932's Winner Take All, O'Brien is taken up by a socialite (Claire Dodd) who sees him as an intriguing primitive type. She has him pose for paintings in the traditional strongman/caveman costume, and if he can't keep up with the sophisticated conversation he basks in the attention. Little does he realize that he's living a lie. He learns the truth after his latest victory when he hears his defeated opponent boast of his acting skills. Our hero refuses to believe that the other man took a dive but sees the light when the loser decks him in the dressing room. He hunts down the promoters and confronts them with his knowledge in front of a reporter. They angrily inform him that his manager/wife was in on the con, and at home she confirms it, telling hubby that it had to be this way because he doesn't really have a punch and would never get a title shot otherwise. Now that he's blabbed, of course, he definitely won't get one. Blaming wifey for that, he walks out on her, not knowing that she's carrying his child.
O'Brien is soon reduced to playing the strongman role for a patent-medicine show, but when he finally learns about Farrell's advanced predicament he tries to get back in the fight game. The most he can do is go to work for his old promoters and take a dive himself for the latest contender in order to provide for his little family. In the ring, his sense of honor and the promise of the winner's purse inspire him to double-cross the promoters. Aided by his old trainer (Clarence Muse, in a nod to the era's segregation, has to make his way all the way down from the nosebleed seats to reach ringside), O'Brien proves to the world that he has a punch after all, then proves to himself, confronting the promoters and his goons afterward, that he can take a punch as well. It's all good in the end, as the reporter who exposed him previously now lobbies for his formal reinstatement. Farrell looks forward to raising children on a little farm, but O'Brien now has new cause to believe his own hype again.
In a Cagneyesque role O'Brien only proves that he's no Cagney, but he has decent chemistry with Farrell and plays the sap well. The dependable quality of the Warners stock company and Crosland's lively direction of the fight scenes lift the picture a little above its utterly predictable plot and make it an entertaining little programmer of the sort Warners made in bunches in Pre-Code times.
Now for the trailer, boasting some original footage, from TCM.com