PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Mike Chavez used to be a professional fighter.

Now, he runs a Phoenix boxing gym with his brother and dedicates his life to helping at-risk kids stay out of trouble.

"With young people, they need some guidance, they need discipline," said Chavez. "They need someone, sometimes telling them they're doing something wrong, or to be called out sometimes."

A few months ago, 9-year-old Carlos Leon was being bullied at school.

His mother, Elsa Leon, brought him to the Chavez Boxing Gym to learn how to box and defend himself.

But instead of signing Leon up for lessons, Chavez sat the young man down and told him that fighting is not the answer to solving problems.

Leon said that little chat with Chavez changed her son's life.

"From him being bullied, he was being aggressive as well," said Leon. Now he's more friendly. He gave me my child back."

Shortly after that heart-to-heart talk, the fourth grader confronted the bully and they became friends.

Leon said it's all because of what the former fighter said.

She was so thankful that she reached out to CBS 5 to Pay It Forward to Chavez and give him $500.

Leon went to the boxing gym for the big surprise.

"I reached out to Channel 5," Leon told Chavez. "You spoke to my son a few months back when he was being bullied at school. The words you said to him helped a lot. You told him that boxing is not for violence. We want to Pay it Forward to you so here is $500."

"Thank you very much Mr. Mike," said Leon.

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
 
 


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Jason Barry is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports highlighting local restaurants with major health code violations.

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