Against the Ropes is a 2004 drama movie. It was directed by Charles S. Dutton, in his motion-picture directorial debut. It is a fictionalized account of the American boxing manager Jackie Kallen, who was the first woman to become a success in the sport.
Against the Ropes grossed less than $6 million in the US and was panned by critics, in part because of the resemblance to nearly all the other boxing movies, such as the Rocky series. As with other such movies, its climax is a bout for the championship.
The film begins with Jackie learning the boxing game with her father and uncle in a small gym when she is just a small girl. Later, she becomes the assistant to a Cleveland boxing promoter. Jackie's boss then begins doing business with Sam LaRocca, a sports manager, during a middleweight championship fight. After the fight, LaRocca asks Jackie what she thought of the fight. Obviously unimpressed with Jackie's knowledge of boxing, LaRocca offers her the fight's loser's contract for a dollar. She goes to visit the fighter at home, only to find him addicted to drugs. Enter Luther Shaw, a small time hood, based partly on James Toney. Kallen watches in mixed horror and fascination as Shaw pummels the former middleweight champ. She offers to manage him professionally. Although Shaw is at first hesitant, he eventually signs on with Kallen. Because of LaRocca, Kallen can't find Shaw a fight anywhere in Ohio, so the two are forced to go on the road until Shaw makes a name for himself. However, Jackie begins to get swept up in all the attention she gets for being the first female boxing promoter. Her attention eventually shifts from Shaw to her own media persona as Shaw's number of wins continues to climb. Finally realizing that she is not paying enough attention to her only client, Kallen agrees to sell Shaw's contract to LaRocca on the condition that he be given a championship fight. LaRocca agrees, setting Shaw up for a shot at the title before he could possibly be ready. Kallen arrives at the fight and stands in Shaw's corner as he goes on to win the title.