Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a punch-drunk boxer who rose from a New York City orphanage to light heavyweight champion. After his latest successful title defense, in which Billy is injured, his wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) urges him to think about quitting while he's still at the height of his fame and has his health. After being taunted into a brawl by an upstart boxer, tragedy strikes when Maureen is killed by an unknown gunman during the melee. Billy spirals into self-destructive behavior, losing his title, his fortune and custody of his daughter Leila (Oona Laurence) in quick succession. After reaching bottom, Billy seeks the help of Titus "Tick" Wills (Forest Whitaker), who trains young boxers at an inner-city gym. Tick agrees to take on Billy and gives him a job as a janitor, cleaning up the gym every night after training. Slowly the two men learn to trust each other, and Billy begins a journey toward accepting his wife's death, reclaiming his daughter from social services and finding glory in the ring again.