All about control.
"These guys don't fight because they like hurting other people. They fight to gain some sort of control over their opponents, over their environment, over their lives. Have you seen this town? The farms are drying up! The only stores are bailbondsmen and pawn shops, and there's nothing they can do about it. So yeah, they get in the ring and...try not to let it all suffocate them...and it's about two guys trying to beat the crap out of each other."
In Lincoln, Nebraska, boxer Mark Howorth suddenly has a fainting spell and loses a fight. His water had something in it, and his old manager is the responsible party. His father, Jack, asks Nate for help. Jed Rucker is the one who runs the fighting in the area. He will also fix fights when it benefits him. He doesnít have a TV deal so Nate asks what else heís into. One thing is golf.
Rucker is at a course when Nate shows up, with Parker as caddy, as the fourth member of their group, and asks for a two grand bet and Rucker agrees. Nate has an advantage, as Hardison gave him balls that will go further, and gets Parker to replace Ruckerís balls with ones he can control.
She also lifts his wallet. When Nate wins and demands his winnings, Rucker canít find it, so Nate tells him to bring it tomorrow.At his gym, Rucker is wondering why Nateís in town when he sees Nate there watching Eliot train. Rucker takes an interest and starts keeping tabs on him.
Outside, he brings some of his people to take him on. Eliot makes quick work of it, while Parker records it and puts it online. Rucker is impressed enough to take Eliot in and asks questions about Nate. Eliot spins a tale about how heís running a ring in South Dakota and is here looking for talent and meeting a woman soon.
The woman is question is Sophieís cover as a TV producer, and Rucker finds things online that make him think Nateís after a TV deal. He also sees the video of the fight online and makes Eliot an offer.
Eliot says heís in debt to Nate and Rucker offers to take care of it and get him some fights in return for bringing Sophie to him.When Rucker meets Sophie, and tries to convince her to go with him instead. She says sheís here for a concert by a starlet named Triana and Rucker decides heís going to be there as well.
Now thereís only one option:
Nate: Letís go steal us a concert.
Nate waylays the director and Hardison takes over.
Sophie spins a tale with very good numbers and profits and Rucker wants in. He offers to finance the whole thing and Sophie agrees.Things start to go off the rails when Engel (one of Rucker's men) check his cousin Jimmy, who happen to live in South Dakota, checks on Nate and Eliot and finds out no oneís heard of them and that Jack visited them. Realizing heís being set up, Rucker decides to work them over instead. When Sophie meets with Rucker the next day, he reveals what he knows, and starts threatening her. Nate and Eliot storm in, realizing the jig is up, but Rucker wonít let them off that easy. He wants Eliot to fight his best guy, Tank, and take a dive
. If he doesnít heíll start doing things to the Howorths. Eliot agrees. Despite the team telling him to pull out he's set on it, and will not be dissuaded. He doesnít want to make the Howorths move and they canít babysit them forever.
On the day of the match Rucker is getting word on his bets, then tells Tank not to go easy on Eliot. The fight is brutal, but before the first round is over, it becomes clear that Ruckerís pulled his old trick. Eliot starts taking a beating and is unable to fight properly. Rucker thinks the game is his, but Sophie tries to explain that itís only made Eliot more dangerous
and he begins to go on a full on attack on Tank
. When Tank taps out, Eliot keeps going until the ref comes and pulls them apart. The doctor comes in to examine Tank and pronounces him dead. Not only has Rucker lost his bet, heís liable for an unsanctioned fight. With no other choice, Rucker takes his money and makes a getaway.
In the ring, once Parker sees Rucker leave, Nate gives a cue and drops the act, as Jack was confused about it. It turns out that Nate asked the doctor for help, since he knew Rucker was going to spike Eliot's bottle (and switch it) and came up with this ruse. The Doctor assures Jack that Tank is fine since he used Succinylcholine, a drug that temporary paralyzed him
, to scare Rucker off. Also, Parker put a transmitter on Ruckerís car which tracks him to the Iowa state line, and Nate tips the state police about him. Using the money they won at the golf course, Parker went to a pawn shop and bought $6,000 worth of guns plus a saxophone (for the heck of it) and planted them inside Rucker's car. The police catch Rucker transporting a lot of cash and a cache of guns across state lines. Rucker is also going to be held until the IRS shows up as Hardison found out that Rucker wasn't good at reporting his income and found some 'funny business' in his account ensuring he won't be back anytime soon.
Jack is still sad that the money is gone but Nate tells him that Engel made bets with some online bookies, not realizing all of them were actually Hardison. The next day, with Rucker gone, the team hands the Howorth's the keys to the gym and want Mark to run as their coach.
Tropes stolen in this job: