Maurice “Termite” Watkins always loved a good fight. At ten years of age and a scrawny 65 pounds, he already knew what he wanted – to be a champion.
With very little natural athletic ability, he reached his goals through sheer determination and perseverance.
At age sixteen, Termite became the nation’s youngest national Golden Gloves champion. He was an astounding amateur, with 128 wins and only 10 losses.
His 58 professional wins included 48 knock-outs. In 1980, he fought in Caesar’s Palace for the coveted world title in a double main event that featured Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes.
After the attacks of 911, Termite felt an overwhelming desire to help our military – he believed it was a calling of God – to serve his country. He asked what he could do for his country. The surprising answer was pest control, the business he’d learned as a child from his father. The coalition needed someone to go into Iraq to rid military camps of snakes, scorpions and bugs so Termite headed to Iraq.
Termite’s patriotic service soon spread beyond vipers and flies – he offered boxing classes to soldiers, officers, and aid workers. News spread of this high-energy boxer with the infectious “can-do” attitude. Visionary coalition leader Mike Gfoeller presented an amazing challenge to the Texan: build an Iraqi Olympic boxing team in the middle of a war and get them into the Olympics in Athens.
Meeting his team of forgotten, rusty athletes in Baghdad, Termite was unimpressed with their skills but amazed by the hearts of these twenty-four Iraqis. “It took tremendous courage for these men to show up on that soccer field to meet an American,” said Termite. Even though he put his life at risk every day, Termite helped them reach their Olympic dreams. Through incredible perseverance and total devotion to a goal, this coach and his team inspired the world. They sent a message of hope and freedom in a war-torn nation. CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and every other major news outlet heralded their triumphant spirit!
As Termite travels around the country he speaks from experience as he shares how to “Keep Your Guard Up” and create a safe work environment. As he shares his plan for success with others, he inspires all who listen to pay the price for success for the price of failure is too great! Don’t drop your guard, become a Safety Champ in the ring of life!
A riveting motivational speaker, Termite spreads the message of overcoming obstacles to groups and schools across the nation. The book, Termite, by Suzy Pepper, has been adapted into a screenplay for a major motion.
Mention you heard his story on The T. Allen Hanes Radio Show.
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