2nd Chance Boxing 


Most would say that Juan Cervantes has come a long way since arriving in West Dallas at age eight. The year was 1973 when Juan arrived from Acuna Coahuila Mexico. It was a turbulent time in America, the Watergate hearings were just starting, U.S. had started pulling out of Vietnam, Roe VS Wade became the law of the land. At the movies, the 60s was being romanticized in the highly successful film ‘American Graffiti’. However, for 8-year-old Juan all that might have been on another planet, while somewhere in the background he might have heard that noise but for him and his family it was about survival. Closer to him was the murder of 12-year Santos Rodriguez by a Dallas Police Officer and the subsequent rioting that followed was a clear and present danger for all in his community.  He followed the path of many before him. Growing up in a neighborhood labeled, ‘El Cemento’ for an area cement plant reportably first started operating back in 1907. The company was a major employer for area residents who were mostly Mexican American or Mexican nationals in search of a better life. 



As he neared his teenage years, getting into altercations with other kids his age and at times older kids became common place. Its not that he went looking for trouble, maybe it just came with the neighborhood and in some ways, it was part of the culture. Juan, just kind accepted that as part of life and tried to focus on playing sports – which he did every chance he got. Whether it was organized sports at the rec. center at school or just at the empty lot down the street. Then at the age of fourteen he met Rudy Hinguanzo, the boxing coach at the Anita Martinez Rec Center

  It did not take long before Rudy became more then a boxing coach to Juan, he became a Mentor and a Father figure. Besides teaching Juan what many call the sweet science of boxing he also credits Rudy for encouraging him to follow his dreams of serving his community by becoming an officer of the law. Which leads to act 2 for Juan, after serving for years as Rudy’s assistant until Rudy finally closed his gym. Juan decided to follow his Mentor’s footsteps. 


“…Where there is a will there is a way” and Juan’s way was getting started in his garage… “


  Juan knew the lessons he learned as a young man had to continue to serve other youth in the area, but how could he start? Well as they say, “Where there is a will there is a way” and Juan’s way was getting started in his garage. This was about three years ago and while running a gym out of your garage is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination Es Mejor Ca Nada (better than nothing). And then as often happened when you are doing good, people will appear to help. Those people were Mr. Martinez from the Ledbetter Neighborhood Association and Mr. Ruben Mendoza director of Jaycee-Zaragoza Rec Center. And as fate would have it- Mr. Mendoza needed a boxing coach. 

  Fast forward to 2019 Juan Cervantes just retired from the Dallas District Attorney’s Office as a gang investigator. In his job as an investigator he saw firsthand how a life without direction and guidance can end bad. Either through gang involvement and the crime that comes with it and or just by dropping out of school. His alternative is his 2nd Chance Boxing program which he personally knows worked for him and now he wants to help others. Juan now has over 40 kids registered in his 2nd chance boxing program and just recently 12 of those kids competed in the annual Golden Gloves competition. With two of his boxers win championships in their weight classes. Juan believes his program offer kids an alternative to negative behavior and associations. And more importantly he believes in the kids, after he still remembers being one of them.  If you would like to get involved with helping provide a better future for these young people whether by volunteering or perhaps making a monetary donation you can contact Juan at 469.231.3546 or email. jcervantes454@gmail.com

Skip to content