In Pulp Fiction,

Butch the boxer fights another guy and accidentally kils him. The "deal" with Marcellus that he struck was to throw the fight in the 5th round. IIRC the fight ended in the 4th round with the opponent dying. Butch obviously planned to double-cross Marcellus to make money and split, but if the fight ended with a knock-out/death in the fourth round, how could Marcellus know that he was double-crossed by Butch, other than by Butch acting suspicious and trying to jump town?

So, how did Marcellus know he was double-crossed by Butch?

  • 4
    Er, because he was supposed to take a dive but didn't? You're not supposed to try very hard and definitely not to knock the other guy out when you're told to take a dive. Marcellus isn't an idiot and this is probably not the first fight he fixed. He knew he was duped.
    – Walt
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 22:39

2 Answers 2


First of all, you realized correctly that it was a reasonable deduction, especially in a gangster scene where you have to be suspicious about everyone trying to double-cross you. Afterall if Butch hadn't wanted to win the fight, he probably just wouldn't have done it.

But even if he didn't know exactly Butch double-crossed him, it doesn't really matter so much. By winning the fight, no matter if intentionally or not, Butch messed up the deal and that's all that counts. Marcellus can't let something like this just slip through, even if Butch would have claimed it was an accident. Butch should have thrown the fight and didn't, by that second he was a dead man, no matter if he actually got any money out of this or not.

  • Gangster logic ftw.
    – Anonymoose
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 23:42
  • Butch didn't want to kill the other guy, just to win the fight. He didn't even know that the other boxer had died until the cab driver told him. But still, you're right, if someone supposed to go down in the 5th wins in the 4th instead, he broke the deal. It doesn't really matter if it was intentional or not.
    – KSmarts
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 14:42

"The deal was to throw the fight in the 5th round"

You have to understand boxing, organized crime, and betting to see this. In Vegas, you can bet on anything. ANYTHING. And the more outrageous, the higher the odds. You can probably literally bet on if a boxer will blow his nose in the 3rd round. Seriously.

Wallace obviously had a bet on Butch going down in the 5th round. The odds were probably pretty high on that, like maybe 5-1 but that's just speculation. At either rate, he specifically needed Butch to go down in the 5th.

The moment Butch knocked the other guy out in the 4th, Wallace knew he was double-crossed.

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