In New York City, over-the-hill boxer Bolie Jackson examines his scars in a mirror as he prepares for his comeback fight against Consiglio. The neighbor, ten-year-old Henry, is avidly watching him and says that he'll be watching Bolie's fight on TV. Bolie talks of all the scars he's earned over the years from his fights, and admits that he's an old man always running behind him. Henry tells him that he's going to make a "big tall wish" so that Bolie won't be hurt.
As Bolie leaves for the game, henry's mother Frances greets him downstairs. She thanks him for looking after her son and tells Bolie to take care of himself. As Henry comes down after Bolie, he promises the fighter that he's going to make a wish. France sends him to bed and tells Bolie that Henry believes in wishes. One time she needed $15 for rent and Henry made a wish, and a customer sent Frances $15. Bolie admits that he doesn't believe in magic, and that someday Henry is going to get that lesson drilled into him. As Bolie walks down the street to his fight, all of his neighbors wish him well. The fighter looks up at Henry's window, and the boy waves to him.
At the arena locker room, Bolie's manager Joe wraps the fighter's hands. Thomas, Bolie's hired agent, lights up a cigar and a disgusted Bolie tells him to put it out. He tells Bolie that he's just a washed-up fighter, and he has a stable of similar fighters that he uses for preliminary bouts. Thomas offers Bolie a job with them, but Bolie refuses. He then asks Thomas what he knows about Consiglio. When the agent claims that he hasn't seen Consiglio fight, Bolie realizes that Thomas bet against him in the fight. He slams Thomas into the wall and throws a punch, but the agent slips out of the way and runs out. Bolie realizes that he's busted four knuckles on his right hand, and Joe warns him that there's no way he can fight. The fighter refuses to give up and has Joe put his gloves on. As he goes to enter the ring, Bolie figures that Henry will be disappointed, and realize that there's no such thing as magic
In the ring, Consiglio ruthlessly beats Bolie down. At home, Henry runs to the screen and wishes over and over for Bolie to win. In the ring, Bolie goes down for the count, but time suddenly freezes. When Bolie looks again, he's standing over the defeated Consiglio. The referee declares him the winner and a triumphant Bolie leaves the ring. Bolie checks his hand and discovers that it's uninjured. When he asks Joe about it, Joe has no memory of Bolie breaking his hand earlier. Bolie talks about how he thought he had gone done in the ring, but Joe tells him that he never went off his feet.
Bolie returns to his apartment as the neighbors cheer him. He goes up to the roof where Henry is tending to his rabbits. The boy congratulates him, and Bolie says that all he remembers is going down for the count. Henry tries to walk away, but Bolie asks him what really happened. Henry finally tells him that he went down in the ring, but the boy made a big tall wish that Bolie won. Bolie tells Henry that there's no such magic and that Henry is just a dumb kid. Henry begs his idol to believe, because the magic won't work without belief. Sobbing, Bolie insists that he did it all himself, and that he's too old for magic. Henry tries to convince him, and... Bolie finds himself in the ring, down for the count.
Later, Bolie comes back to his tenement and his neighbors watch silently. The fighter goes to see Henry, and Frances says that she's sorry. Bolie goes into the boy's room and explains that he busted his knuckles before the fight and went in with only half of his ammunition. Henry tells his hero that he was proud of him. Bolie says that he'll take Bolie to a hockey game the next day and promises to spend more time with him. As the fighter leaves, a sad Henry tells him that he won't make any more wishes.