Boxing legend Maurice 'Termite' Watkins hospitalized with COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Boxing legend and Houston native Maurice 'Termite' Watkins is hospitalized after being diagnosed with COVID-19. His wife was informed Saturday that his test for coronavirus came back positive.

"He returned from a business trip to Dallas last week, and complained of aches the next day," Cindy Watkins said.

As his symptoms worsened, she said he was tested for the coronavirus at a private clinic. That test is still pending.

After being tested in the hospital, the test returned positive.

"He kept getting sicker," she said. "Last week, he went to a doctor. This week, I took him to a hospital. He was admitted and diagnosed with double pneumonia, but he was released. I was told to get a device to check for his oxygen levels. When they fell, we went back to the hospital and he was placed in intermediate care."

Watkins is 63-years-old, but his career in the ring is legendary. He credits boxing as the cause of getting him off the streets. He earned the name Termite because of his family's fumigation business. His father found a trainer for him, and it took. Watkins was a golden glove champion, winning the nationals at only 16 years old. He was also on the Olympic boxing team, and became a professional boxer. With 61 dubs, including 42 knockouts, 19 decisions, and only 5 losses.

After he retired from the ring, he went into business, and also created Fighter Nation, a faith-based boxing program for kids who, like he once did, are looking for an alternative to street life.

Now, all the strength he has is being used to fight the virus. "He was so tired, and the doctors told us he was going to be placed on a ventilator," Cindy said. "The last words I said to him on the phone were words of encouragement, and I told him I love him."

The Watkins are a family of faith, and Cindy is praying for divine healing for her husband.

So are all the people who've reached out to her on social media and the family's many friends.

"I believe God is the Great Physician," she said. "I believe he will be healed, but sometimes the heart and the mind can go in different directions. This is a roller coaster of emotions."

Termite is resting comfortably, and she said the doctor told her that her husband is doing well, and that the ventilator is helping his lungs work, while his body fights the virus. "He is a fighter, and the most inspirational person I know," she said.

She is in self-quarantine, along with other family members in the Watkins' home. "People need to take this virus seriously. Watch for symptoms, and when they appear, get to a doctor."

For now, she sits at home, separated from the man she loves, a husband with the heart of a champion.

"He's a fighter and he knows how to win," she said. "And the first thing I'm going to tell him is that I love you, and thank you for fighting."

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Maurice "Termite" Watkins trains many promising young boxers, including Evan Holyfield, son of boxing legend Evander Holyfield.

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