Just 16, Boxer Has Great Expectations

By Zach Berman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 11, 2008

Sean Magruder started doing the math when his son was born. He added the years, attempting to determine which Olympics Antonio Magruder would reach.

The answer was 2012. When London was announced in 2005 as the host, Sean started thinking about hotel rooms.

"We goin' to London," he said at the time.

Antonio, a 16-year-old boxer from Suitland, is doing his part. He won a gold medal at the Junior Olympics last month. He's a 2008 Silver Gloves champion. His worldwide ranking in the 114-pound class is No. 12, the highest American listed. His path mirrors that of another Washington area fighter, Gary Russell Jr. of Capitol Heights, who will compete next month in Beijing.

Since he started, Antonio determined where boxing would lead him. He planned on winning the Silver Gloves, the Junior Olympics, the Olympics and, eventually, the welterweight championship of the world -- and he has enough bravado to advertise those expectations.

When Floyd Mayweather Jr. came to Union Station in 2007 to promote his fight against Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio, a Mayweather fanatic, attended the promotion to meet one of his idols. Antonio saved pleasantries and resisted adulation. Instead, he offered Mayweather a prognostication.

"I'm a future champion," Antonio told Mayweather. "The next Floyd Mayweather will be Antonio Magruder."

Asked when he would retire from boxing, Antonio took a moment to contemplate.

"25, 26," Antonio answered.

"25, 26?" his father said with a puzzled expression. "How 'bout 36?"

"No," Antonio said. "I'll be champion by then."

Sean Magruder, 35, wanted his son to become a boxer since his own boxing hopes fizzled when he was 17. Sean felt he had no choice when, at 3 years old, Antonio left his cousins bloodied.

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