Maurice “Termite” Watkins Upcoming Boxing Movie of His Life!
By Ken Hissner: Maurice “Termite” Watkins was a 3-time Houston, Texas, Golden Gloves titlist winning the National 1973 Golden Gloves, defeating future Olympian Davey Armstrong.
Turning pro in May of 1974, he won his first twenty-six bouts over a twenty-two-month period. He was 128-10 as an amateur.
As a pro, two of the biggest wins Watkins had early were knocking out Marion “Tiger” Thomas, 32-10-1, in seven rounds in July 1975. The other was defeating Juan Hildago, 13-0, over ten rounds in Miami Beach in January of 1976.
In March of 1976, Watkins, after winning his first twenty-six fights, lost to Adriano Marrero, 18-5-2, by majority decision in Miami Beach. He bounced back, winning his next five fights, including the Texas State Lightweight title over Rocky Ramon, 16-7, over ten rounds in August 1976.
In November of 1976, Watkins was upset by Mexico’s Augustin Estrada, 4-10, over ten rounds in San Antonio, Texas, which was a rematch where Watkins previously had stopped him in seven rounds in August of 1976.
Watkins came back winning seven bouts and had one no-decision against Norman Goins, 17-4-1, over ten rounds. Two of those wins were over Steve Homan, 9-1, and Benny Marquez, 5-1, both in Houston.
In April of 1978, Watkins defeated Hilbert Stevenson, 16-6, in Orlando, FL, over ten rounds, before he drew with Teodoro Osuna, 9-4-1, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City in March 1979, dropping his record to 45-2-1. In Osuna’s next bout, he defeated Arcadio “Pee Wee” Suarez, 20-0.
Two fights later, in a major bout, Watkins lost to former Olympic Gold Medalist Howard Davis, Jr., 11-0, over ten rounds in Houston. He bounced back, winning his next four bouts, earning a world title bout losing to WBC Light Welterweight champion Saoul Mamby, 28-12-5, over 15 rounds at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, dropping his record to 50-4-1, in October of 1980.
Watkins came back to win four knockouts in a row, including Bruce “Mouse” Strauss, 60-34-3, in three rounds. Next, in November of 1982, he lost to former WBC Super Featherweight champion Alfredo “Petro” Escalera, 48-12-3, over ten rounds at the Orange Bowl, in Miami, FL, before retiring.
It wouldn’t be until over six years in April of 1989 when Watkins would return to the ring at super welterweight drawing with Anthony Williams 6-1-1, in Galveston, TX, over six rounds.
Over an eleven-month period, Watkins, in his comeback, went 7-0-1, finishing up in March of 1990, defeating Mexico’s Jorge “Yaqui” Hernandez, 7-15-1, by split decision in Phoenix, AZ, over six rounds. He finished his career at 61-5-2 with 42 stoppages.
In 2004 Watkins was the boxing coach for the Iraq team. In April 2020, he tested positive for the Coronavirus and was treated in a Texas hospital.
KEN HISSNER: You had a good amateur career winning the 1973 National Golden Gloves. Who were your trainer and manager?
TERMITE WATKINS: My trainer was Albert “Potato Pie” Bolden, and my dad was my manager. Don King wanted to buy it in 1979.
KEN HISSNER: You seemed to have most of your fights out of your home state of Texas and others in Florida. In March of 1977, you had a no-decision with Norman Goins in Texas. How did it end up like that?
You lost to Olympian Howard Davis. How good was he?
TERMITE WATKINS: It was a tough fight, but I trained wrong for that as a puncher, and I was a boxer-puncher. Kenny Weldon was training me at that time. Davis, Ray Leonard, and I were all on the US team together.
KEN HISSNER: You came back to earn a world title fight with Saoul Mamby, losing over 15 rounds. In what was the biggest fight of your career, how did you feel you did in that fight?
TERMITE WATKINS: That was another tough fight.
KEN HISSNER: You did quite well until your next fight against former champion Alfredo Escalera. He won the worst decision I ever attended or saw in Philly to Tyrone Everett. Was he a dirty fighter? After that loss, you retired, coming back after six years at a higher weight. What brought you back?
You ended up with a really good record at 61-5-2. What were your high and low times in your career?
I know you had quite a career, but after fourteen years since retiring, how did you end up coaching the Iraq Olympic team in 2004?
I understand you came down with the Coronavirus in April of 2020. How did that affect your overall health?
TERMITE WATKINS: I was on the ventilator for 18 days. It then took me another eight months to get my strength back so I could walk again. We were supposed to meet with Sylvester Stallone about the movie of my life with his Balboa Productions. I waited 15 years on that.
KEN HISSNER: Are you involved with boxing in any way today?
TERMITE WATKINS: I have a boxing ministry called Fighter Nation with some 200 youth having given their life to Christ over the years.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. You’ve had some interesting life.
TERMITE WATKINS: My pleasure.
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