In the not too distant future, boxing has been banned and replaced by robot fighters in the ring. Sam "Steel" Kelly is a former boxer but now owns one of these pugilistic machines. Unfortunately his robot, which he's named Battling Maxo, is getting old and many of its parts are no longer available. Kelly is broke and is doing everything he can to ensure Battling Maxo can enter the ring as the promoter has made it clear there's no payment if there's no bout. When Maxo breaks down however, Kelly decides to takes its place. Written by
Portrait of a losing side, proof positive that you can't outpunch machinery. Proof also of something else: that no matter what the future brings, man's capacity to rise to the occasion will remain unaltered. His potential for tenacity and optimism continues, as always, to outfight, outpoint, and outlive any and all changes by his society, for which three cheers and a unanimous decision rendered from the Twilight Zone.
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Surprisingly not from the typewriter of Rod Serling who liked boxing and wrote 'Requiem For A Heavyweight', but a story from Richard Matheson. Interesting as a vision of the future ('circa 1974') as being a time when boxing is banned as this was written during a classic era for the sport. The sight of Lee Marvin and Joe Mantell (Nervous Man In A Four Dollar Room, series two),shifting their robot fighter around would have seemed pretty weird then. The way both actors deliver the lines as though their automaton was a real boxer is impressive, with words like 'oil' in their dialogue. They even overcome a ridiculous 'springy' sound effect. Lee Marvin was the perfect actor to show gritty survival qualities in any society no matter what they ban.
Adds to the diversity of the Zone. The message is clear.
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