2008 Arnold Classic Preview, 20th Edition - Similar Faces... Different Places!

2008 Arnold Classic Preview - The past winners will be honored on Saturday night and another champion will be crowned. Will it be a similar face...? See if you agree with my preview of where the men will place at the Classic!

This weekend thousands of bodybuilding and fitness fans will emerge on Columbus, Ohio for the 20th Arnold Classic Anniversary. The past winners will be honored on Saturday night and another champion will be crowned. Will it be a similar face to the Arnold winner's circle in Dexter Jackson or a new name to add to the prestigious list? We'll have to wait and see but here's how I see it breaking down.

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1. Phil Heath:
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    The Gift brought a new package to the competition stage at the Iron Man Pro and dominated the competition. He's improved in all areas of his physique and was able to bring the level of conditioning that leaves no question in the judges eyes.

Phil Heath Phil Heath
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Phil Heath At The 2007 Arnold Classic.
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    This week he'll have a much tougher battle with the Arnold line-up however his new set of wheels and overall presentation will put him in the winner's circle. I was a little premature in my prediction of him winning last year but I'm confident Heath will reign supreme over some of the seasoned vets on Saturday.

Phil Heath's 2008 Iron Man Routine.

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2. Dexter Jackson:
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    The Blade is always sliced and diced when he steps on stage. He's a proven champ and deserves the respect he's earned as a top bodybuilder in the IFBB. If Heath doesn't come in at his all time best he could find himself back in the winner's circle.

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Dexter Jackson At The 2007 Olympia.
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    I have Dex in second because we haven't seen him improve his physique. We know what we'll see in Jackson and that's great symmetry, mature grainy muscle and insane conditioning. It's going to be close with he and Heath but in the end I think his legs will be his downfall to Heath and put him in the bridesmaid position.

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3. Melvin Anthony:
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    This will be the first time we see Melvin on the Arnold stage in a few years. It also marks the first time we see him battle it out with Phil Heath and Dexter Jackson on the same stage.

Melvin Anthony Melvin Anthony
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Melvin Anthony At The 2007 Olympia.
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    The Marvelous One is a proven champ and also deserves respect as a proven champ. He gave fans a preview at the Iron Man Pro where he was two weeks out and he was looking big. He was holding a ton of water but that's a given two weeks out. Melvin's downfall has been his conditioning in his legs, particularly his glutes and hamstrings.

    He'll need to bring his best conditioning ever to contend with Heath and Jackson in that department. If either of them is off he could surpass them as the 20th winner of the Arnold Classic. We know he'll put on a helluva a show with his posing routine though.

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4. Kai Greene:
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    Kai really turned it on in 2007. He improved with each show he did and at the Colorado Pro was sliced to the bone. He's packed on a ton of muscle in a short amount of time since turning pro but seems to carry it well.

Kai Greene Kai Greene
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Kai Greene At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
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    The last time we saw him he was reportedly over 300lbs at a guest posing. How much of that will translate into quality muscle remains to be seen and will it effect his conditioning. Kai is still showing that he's able to hang with the top pros and this will be his toughest competition as a pro.

    He could easily slide out of the top 6 if his conditioning not what we've come to expect. Kai will battle it out with Melvin as the best poser in this show.

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5. Gustavo Badell:
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    The Freak'n Rican as Lonnie Teper coined him, was much improved from his 2007 Olympia outing when he placed second to Phil Heath at the Iron Man Pro. Look for him to bring a more conditioned physique to the Arnold stage and be in the top callouts. He's shown he is a veteran of the bodybuilding stage but his hamstrings seem to be his downfall as of late. He packs a ton of muscle and will make a run at the top spots at this show.

Gustavo Badell Gustavo Badell
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Gustavo Badell At The 2007 Olympia.
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6. Silvio Samuel:
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    Silvio was not at his best at the Iron Man Pro and placed fourth. He's been competing non-stop for quite some time and I think his body needs a rest. Let's hope he takes one after this show.

Silvio Silvio
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Silvio Samuel The 2007 Olympia.
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    I'd like to see him rest until the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly show or even the Olympia. He's improved his posing and has tremendous muscle bellies. His conditioning is usually spot on and I look for him to come in more sliced than the Iron Man. His legs have come up and he's going to be in the top couple callouts.

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7. Toney Freeman:
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    The X-Man was last year's Iron Man and Sacramento Pro Champ. He followed it up with a strong showing at the Arnold Classic where he maintained tremendous size and conditioning. He slipped at the 2007 Olympia and was clearly off, to his own admission.

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Toney Freeman At The 2007 Olympia.
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    He wasn't at his best at this year's Iron Man Pro but look for him to improve his conditioning for this show. This is a telling show for Toney. He needs to bring back the conditioning he brought last year in order to place in the top 6. Have we seen the best of him last year? We'll see this weekend.

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8. Desmond Miller:
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    Desmond has the best set of wheels in this line-up. Branch Warren may disagree but his legs are some of the best ever on stage. His back and specifically his lats are his downfall. He doesn't pose with a ton of confidence which is reflective of his laid-back personality. He looked improved at the Iron Man and narrowly missed the top 5. Look for him to be in the top 10 at this show.

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Desmond Miller At The 2007 Keystone Pro.
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9. Branch Warren:
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    Branch has spent some time since the Colorado Pro refining his physique. People on the message boards are buzzing that we'll see a new and improved Branch. He's the blue collar bodybuilder from Texas who has a freaky physique. He won the New York Pro off from a disappointing showing at the Arnold last year, can he return to the winner's circle? It will be tough in this line-up.

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Branch Warren At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
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10. Ronny Rockel:
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    Ronny has an awesome physique and brings a great package to the stage. He needs to work on his posing routine a bit but the guy comes in with great conditioning. I look for him to be improved from his Olympia showing and will make a run at a higher placing than 10th. He'll most likely be in the second or third callouts with this competition.

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Ronny Rockel At The 2007 Olympia.
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11. Moe El Moussawi:
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    He came out of nowhere to shock everyone at the Iron Man pro and placed third. Moe brought tremendous conditioning to that stage and has never looked better. This will be a much tougher outing for him and he'll get a test of what it's like on a bigger stage. He has amazing arms and great legs.


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Moe El Moussawi At The 2008 Iron Man.
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    The physique he brought to the Iron Man stage is no joke and could easily find himself in the top ten and potentially battling it out for the top six if he brings the same package to the Arnold stage. He's beat many of the guys I have in front of him two weeks ago so repeating is not out of the question. Realistically he is a top 10 guy in this line-up and will depend on how every one shows up for his final placing.

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12. David Henry:
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    David was not at his best at the Iron Man but looked unreal at the Olympia. If he can match the conditioning he brought to the Olympia stage look for him to move into the top 10. His downfall are his quads and he seems to struggle in the early shows for some reason. David has one of the best backs in the biz and is now posing with more confidence and displaying his physique much better.

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David Henry At The 2007 Olympia.
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13. Johnnie Jackson:
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    Johnnie caught some people sleeping at the Iron Man and managed to pull out a top 5 placing. He's a proven champ and no stranger to being called out in the first callouts. I don't think he'll hear his name called in the first callouts or even second but if others are off he could move up again. He didn't bring a "wow" factor to the Iron Man stage and he'll need to pull out all the stops to move up at this show.

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Johnnie Jackson At The 2007 Olympia.
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14. Adorthus Cherry:
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    AD turned pro at the NPC NATIONALS last November and has tremendous symmetry with a tiny waist. He's a great guy and this will be his pro debut. I criticized him for accepting the Arnold invite but hey what better show than the Arnold to make your debut?

    Gotta give the guy props for getting the invite, many bodybuilders would kill to be in his position. I don't think he's had enough time to improve since Nationals but I've been wrong before.

Adorthus Cherry Adorthus Cherry
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Adorthus Cherry At The 2007 NPC Nationals.
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15. DeShaun Grimez:
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    He found himself in the dreaded tied for 17th place at the Iron Man and unfortunately for him this show is too stacked for him to be competitive. The Iron Man was his pro debut and this will be his second show as a pro. Again, it's an honor to be invited to this show and I hope he has fun with it.

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Deshaun Grimez At The 2007 NPC USA's.
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Conclusion
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There is always a surprise or two at the show and this will certainly be no different. Someone will miss their peak and someone will nail it passing others by. Who those people will be, we're not sure but it is going to be a great competition. The reigning champ, Victor Martinez is out with an injury so the door is open for a new champ.

Who will bust through it will be decided on Saturday. I'll be photographing the show and have the fortunate, front and center seat to watch all the action. Check out the photos after the show and if you're not able to attend the show catch the FREE webcast here on Bodybuilding.com.