A Preview Of The 2008 Arnold Classic - Who Will Win?

This is a very tough line-up and the placings will literally come down to the last few ounces of water under each competitor's skin. Here's a preview of each competitor and in the order I think they will place! Do you agree?

With Victor Martinez out of the contest, who will win the coveted Arnold Classic this year? It's a wide-open field and many competitors really do have a legitimate chance of winning the title. See who's competing and who I think will make the top ten at the 2008 Arnold Classic.

The big news is that last year's champ, Victor Martinez, is not competing in the Arnold Classic this year. Martinez is recovering from knee surgery due to an injury sustained while doing lunges during his prep for the Arnold Classic. We wish Victor a speedy and healthy recovery and hope to see him back on stage soon.

This article was written with less than three weeks to go before the 2008 Iron Man takes place. The competitors who do well at the Iron Man and also compete in the Arnold Classic have a tendency to gain momentum and place well at the Arnold Classic.

Some additional invitations are normally extended to one or two competitors who have a good showing at the Iron Man. So look for one or two more names to be on the competitor list about one week before the competition.

In alphabetical order, here's the list of athletes scheduled to compete on March 2 in Columbus:

This is a very tough line-up and the placings will literally come down to the last few ounces of water under each competitor's skin. I had to really think about these guys and where they would place against each other, but, nonetheless, here's a preview of each competitor and in the order I think they will place:

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    14. Adorthus Cherry:
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      Unfortunately, someone's gotta come in last and it might as well be the rookie. The 2007 Heavyweight Nationals Champion will step on the pro stage for the first time. He weighed 220 at the Nationals and hopes to come in at 225 with the same conditioning for the Arnold Classic.

    Adorthus Cherry Adorthus Cherry
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      He's excited for the invite and hopes to make a good showing for his fans in his first pro appearance. Cherry has a tiny waist and aesthetic lines. He has an amazing v-taper in the back double-bicep pose. His physique sort of reminds me of IFBB Pro Chuck Sanow's. Unfortunately, AD's pec tear needs to fill in more (like Toney Freeman's has) before he can expect higher placings in the pro ranks.

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    13. DeShaun Grimez:
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      The other new kid on the block will be making his second pro appearance. The Iron Man will be DeShaun's first appearance on a pro stage. The 2007 USA Heavyweight champion has competed as a super-heavyweight several times. Even though there are no weight classes in this pro contest, history shows that Grimez placed better as a heavyweight when his conditioning is better.

    DeShaun Grimez DeShaun Grimez
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      He's got a lot of muscle on his frame and, as a rookie, he needs to play the conditioning game more than the size game. A few pounds of muscle each year and he'll have a bright future in the pros and be placing in the money.

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    12. Ronnie Rockel:
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      Rockel has a great physique. He's complete and is very balanced and really has no sub-par body parts. His height and posing ability might have held him back a little. (I really hope he's switched his posing music from whatever he used at the Olympia.) If Rockel's conditioning isn't spot on, he tends to get overlooked. He does well in smaller shows, but doesn't place well in the larger ones.

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    11. Kai Greene:
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      This guy surprised everyone last year and picked up his first pro win. Like a few other guys, he sat out of the Mr. Olympia last year too. He needed some rest and more time to improve. We'll see this year if his conditioning from last year was a fluke or if Greene will be a strong contender from now on. Although his routine is flashy and spectacular, I'd like to see him hit a few more static poses and a little less jumping and dancing.

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    10. Branch Warren:
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      With two pro wins in 2005 and one win last year at the New York Pro, Warren hopes to rekindle the magic he produced at the 2006 Arnold Classic. He went toe-to-toe with Dexter Jackson that year and ended up in second place. The Branch Warren fans, of course, thought he had that one in the bag.

      If Branch brings that physique back to the stage, he'll have a shot at winning, but based on his appearance from recent shows, it doesn't look like he'll achieve that same full and polished look.

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    9. Desmond Miller:
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      Last year's rookie qualified for the 2007 Mr. Olympia, but decided to sit it out to take a much-needed break. The 2001 Natural Pro Mr. Universe and 2006 Overall Nationals Champion placed second behind Dennis Wolf at the 2007 Keystone Classic. His legs are incredible and it'll be interesting to see how much additional size he's put on upper body with a few months of rest. Desmond is a big guy and if his conditioning is like last year's, he'll do well.

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    8. Johnnie Jackson:
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      Jackson is training under Milos and wants the results that many of his other pupils are experiencing. He's thick and powerfully built. I think it will be close between Johnnie Jackson, Samuel, Henry and Badell. The order of these four guys could change easily. They all have great physiques and minimal weak areas. I think these four guys will be compared next to each other in the line-up a lot in the judging.

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    7. David Henry:
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      David Henry has the coolest looking back in pro bodybuilding today. Joel Stubbs has thickness and the width of the jet planes he pilots, but Henry has a complete back with tremendous little details. Henry made the top 10 at the 2007 Mr. Olympia and has regained his razor-sharp conditioning that was missing for a couple shows last year.

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    David Henry.

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    6. Silvio Samuel:
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      Sivlio's arms and his conditioning are tremendous. He has great shape and muscle tie-ins. I still think his delts need to be bigger and his back needs to be wider, especially in the front double-biceps pose. He might place as high as fifth, maybe even fourth. Although this is stating the obvious, it'll depend on what the other guys look like.

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    5. Gustavo Badell:
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      Badell came alive last year at the Arnold and battled his way up the placings during the pre-judging. He seemed to fill out and become tighter the more he posed. Badell will come into the show in good condition with improved legs and a smaller waistline, but he will look a little smaller than his breakout years of 2004 and 2005 because of the waist-trimming process.

    Gustavo Badell Gustavo Badell
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    4. Melvin Anthony:
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      The Marvelous One has one of the most balanced and proportioned physique in the business. He's placed in the top six the last two years at the Mr. Olympia. In his effort to pick up another pro win, I think Melvin will go all out for a win at the Iron Man and come in a little less sharp at the Arnold classic. I'll stick my neck out again this year and also predict the crowd will like his posing routine.

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    3. Toney Freeman:
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      The X-Man would love to add the Arnold Classic to his list of pro titles. He's tall. He's huge. And he's ripped. I might be wrong, but I don't think he'll be more ripped than Heath or Dexter Jackson. I think it will be very close between Freeman and Anthony. They'll be battling it out for spots three and four. My pick is Freeman for third.

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    Toney Freeman 2007 Iron Man Routine.

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    2. Phil Heath:
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      As of this writing, all I've seen is the same photos and video everybody else has seen. I'm still waiting to see what "The Gift" looks like at the Iron Man. If he comes in spot on at the Iron Man, I think he'll win it. If he does come in dry, can he do it for the Arnold Classic again two weeks later?

      Last year I picked him to win the Arnold because he was a dark horse and I would have looked brilliant for predicting his win when everybody else picked Victor. This year, I just don't see Heath getting past Dexter.

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    1. Dexter Jackson:
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      The Blade is the most consistent of all of today's top pros. He doesn't look remarkably different from show to show, but he always comes in shredded. Once in a while he's even a tad sharper here and there, but he's usually in better condition than anyone else on stage.

    Dexter Jackson Dexter Jackson
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      Dexter has shown that he's the number three guy in the world. He took third in the Mr. Olympia behind Martinez and Cutler. Neither of those two are in the Arnold Classic this year. If Jackson comes in shape, and he most likely will, Dexter Jackson will regain the Arnold Classic title in 2008.

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    Conclusion
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    There you have it. Right or wrong, that's my take. We'll all see on March 2, 2008 in Columbus if my predictions are correct or way off base. Hmmm... Maybe I should have asked the Swami (Lonnie Teper) before I made my predictions. He's usually pretty good at that sort of thing!

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