HOUSTON, Texas -- Adrian De La Garza knows the transformative power of boxing. Growing up, training in the ring helped change his outlook on life. It's one of the reasons he wanted to bring a boxing program into one of Houston's most underserved communities.
He opened Sweet Science Boxing Academy in Acres Homes to help area kids stay on the right path and build confidence. The boxing program, part of his non-profit Houston Youth Outreach, is low-cost. De La Garza hopes to eventually make training free to everyone.
"I've had fighters that don't have parents, or something happened here or something happened there," said De La Garza. "Maybe because of a choice they made when they were 12 or 13, they're paying for it when they're 18 of 19, and they just want to do better. When you see them actually come out and start to do better and start to just blossom, its a beautiful thing."
For the young boxers he trains, spending time in the ring is about much more than punches. It builds their character and teaches them hard work.
"He's one of the biggest reasons I started going to school," said boxer John Lara. "I feel that whatever goal that I want to achieve, I feel I can achieve, as long as I have the mindset for it. Through boxing, that's what its done for me."
De La Garza sees boxing as an art.
"I see boxing as a beautiful sport," he said. "The movement, the defense, the discipline that comes with it, to me, that's the beautiful part. Its poetry in motion when you're in the ring and I wanted to convey that message. I didn't want it to be knockout this, or fists this, or punching, whatever. I wanted people to know the beauty of the art. And they call it the sweet science."