Manager Steel Kelly and his partner and mechanic Pole arrive in Maynard, Kansas hauling a man-sized object with them: Battling Maxo. They go to a bar and Pole warns that they’ll have trouble finding parts. Kelly insists that Maxo will be okay and gestures toward the object. Pole insists he’s ready for the scrap heap but Kelly believes he’s got plenty of fight. His partner warns that they won’t make enough money to even get out of town, much less make repairs.
Human prizefighting has been outlawed since 1968 and now androids are the only ones permitted to fight in the ring. Kelly and Pole go to the boxing center to prepare for their six-round bout. They go to see Nolan and end up with his accountant Maxwell. As they wait for Nolan, Kelly talks about how he used to be a heavyweight before the law was passed. Maxwell is unimpressed. Nolan finally arrives and Kelly insists that Maxo will provide a good fight. The owner points out that the B2 model is out-of-date and refuses to give Kelly an advance.
Kelly and Pole take Maxo to the ready room and Kelly spars with it, putting the android through its paces. Pole warns that they need to set the android for defense but Kelly warns that the contract calls for an offensive fight. Maxo throws a left and something breaks in its arm. Pole opens it up and a spring breaks free. Kelly tells him to fix it and when Pole says they don’t make the springs any more, Kelly grabs him. However, he has no choice but to accept reality: the android won’t work. Kelly comes up with a new plan: he’ll have to enter the ring himself. Only Nolan and Maxwell know what he looks like. Pole says she can get money from his sister to go back East and that if Kelly fights, he’ll get mangled. When he threatens to stop him, Kelly tells him to help or he’ll beat Pole’s brains out.
That night, Pole brings “Maxo” out into the ring to face his opponent, the Maynard Flash, as the crowd hisses. The mechanic unveils Kelly, made up to look like an android. Pole tells Kelly to stay away from him. Man and android enter the ring and begin.
The opposing android beats Kelly without emotional until Kelly goes down. Pole goes to Kelly, who tells him to get the robe and hood. The referee declares the Maynard Flash the winner while Pole gets Kelly back to the ready room. Once they’re alone, Kelly collapses. Pole tries to tend to his wounds but Kelly tells him to get the money first.
Later, Pole returns and tells him he only got half of the money because Kelly didn’t go past one round. Kelly, unbowed, starts calculating how much it’ll take to get back east and that the rest can go into overhauling Maxo.