“The Contender” is a novel written by Robert Lipsyte and published in 1967. However, there is also a movie titled “The Contender” which was released in 1944, and I assume that’s the one you are referring to.
The 1944 film “The Contender” is a drama directed by Sam Newfield and starring Buster Crabbe, Arline Judge, and Julie Gibson. The plot centers around Johnny Rocket (Buster Crabbe), a washed-up boxer who gets a chance at a comeback when a new manager, Dave Leonard (Milton Kibbee), takes him under his wing. Johnny’s love interest, Peggy (Arline Judge), is also a key character in the story.
As Johnny trains and fights his way back to the top, he faces a number of challenges, including a rival boxer named Kid Norfolk (Jack Ingram), who wants a shot at the title. Johnny also has to contend with a crooked promoter who wants to fix the fight in his favor.
In the end, Johnny gets his chance at the title, but not before facing some tough decisions and personal sacrifices. The film explores themes of redemption, love, and perseverance, and is a classic example of the boxing movie genre popular during the 1940s.
George Wallace Sayre, Jay Doten, Raymond L. Schrock
Buster Crabbe, Arline Judge, Julie Gibson