Isaac Hinds' 2009 Arnold Classic Preview.

Thirteen men will battle it out in Columbus, Ohio for the prestigious Arnold Classic title. We'll have to wait until the first week of March so see how it shakes out but here's my breakdown of the show.


Isaac Hinds' 2009 Arnold Classic Preview

Thirteen men will battle it out in Columbus, Ohio for the prestigious Arnold Classic title. Defending champ Dexter Jackson and runner-up Phil Heath have both decided to sit this show out and focus solely on the Olympia. This leaves a window of opportunity open for a few guys. Who will be the 2009 Arnold Classic Champ? We'll have to wait until the first week of March so see how it shakes out but here's my breakdown of the show.


1. Toney Freeman

    The X-man will shock his fellow competitors and the fans in Columbus. He was fifth at the 2008 Olympia and each of the guys who placed in front of him will be absent from the show. Sure Kai and Victor were absent from the Olympia but look for Toney to be in top condition and bigger than ever. He's back working with Dave Palumbo on his contest prep which has proven to be a successful formula. Toney also has had more time off than in the past to prepare for this show. Look for him to be the biggest and best guy on the stage in Ohio.

Toney Freeman Toney Freeman
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Toney Freeman At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
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Toney Freeman's 2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro Posing Routine.
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2. Kai Greene

    Kai skipped the Olympia and will be coming into the Arnold fully rested. He'll be bigger than we've ever seen him and count on him being ripped to shreds. He has some of the craziest body parts you'll ever see. His quads are always diced and his back has become one of the best in the biz. It's a long shot for him to place above Victor but it is possible. A number of people are critical of his structure and feel his physique doesn't flow. Whether you agree or disagree with that, there is no disputing he's positioned himself amongst the elite of today's competition. Look for him to put on another head turning posing routine at the night show.

Kai Greene Kai Greene
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Kai Greene At The 2008 IFBB New York Mens Pro.
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Kai Greene's 2008 Arnold Classic Posing Routine.
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3. Victor Martinez

    Vic is clearly one of the best bodybuilders in the world. When he is "on" he's nearly unbeatable. The question will be how does he look since his injury that sidelined him for months? He carried a ton of muscle and has all the right parts to make him Mr. Olympia. Many feel, myself included, he should have been Mr. Olympia in 2007 but that was many moons ago. The time is now and can he match what he displayed on that stage? We'll see in a few weeks but I think he'll be a little rusty at this show and not be 100%. If he's in condition and his leg has fully recovered he'll be the Arnold champ. It's a big "if" though and one that we're all waiting see play out.

Victor Martinez Victor Martinez
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Victor Martinez At The 2007 IFBB Olympia.
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Victor Martinez's 2007 Arnold Classic Posing Routine.
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4. Branch Warren

    He was in fourth last year and I look for him to hold this spot once again. Branch could bring home the "Most Muscular" trophy again but he'll be hard pressed to move into the top three. His legs are crazy but his back holds him back (no pun intended) from placing high against the top guys. The Blue Collared bodybuilder is a force to be reckoned with and one of the freaky guys fans come out to see.

Branch Warren Branch Warren
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Branch Warren At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.
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Branch Warren's 2008 Arnold Classic Posing Routine.
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5. Silvio Samuel

    Silvio proved once again that he is always in shape when he won the 2009 Iron Man. His posing has dramatically improved over the last couple of years and he carries himself with more confidence on stage. He has crazy conditioning and big full muscle bellies that keep him in the top 1-2 callouts of every show he enters. The judges like the physique he brings to the stage and he'll be one of the first names you hear called out in Columbus.

Silvio Samuel Silvio Samuel
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Silvio Samuel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
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Silvio Samuel's 2008 Arnold Classic Posing Routine.
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6. Dennis James

    Dennis showed a more streamlined physique at the 2008 Olympia and the lighter weight suits him well. It's been a few years since we've seen Dennis on the Arnold stage. Look for him to be in the top couple of callouts if he matches the look he at at the Olympia. He'll have more size than Silvio but won't match him in conditioning. He narrowly lost to Silvio at the 2008 Olympia and will be looking to move ahead of him at this show.

Dennis James Dennis James
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Dennis James At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
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Dennis James' 2008 Olympia Posing Routine.
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7. Moe El Moussawi

    Moe is hungry and anxious to redeem himself. He wasn't as sharp as he needed to be at this year's Ironman. He added some size to his physique but it didn't seem to flow as well as the physique he presented last year. Moe could be in the top callouts if he comes in about 5-7lbs lighter than this year's Ironman and matches his 2008 Ironman conditioning. Moe is a passionate guy who is dedicated to the industry. We'll see if his passion prevails and launches him into a higher spot than last year's 11th place finish.

Moe El Moussawi Moe El Moussawi
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Moe El Moussawi At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
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Moe El Moussawi's 2009 Iron Man Posing Routine.
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8. Gustavo Badell

    Gustavo's best competitive days seem to be behind him. This is a make or break show for him to show that he is still a top pro. His legs seemed to disappear from the size they once were and his conditioning has been lacking. He has great arms but it's not a gun show. Gustavo will have his hands full for a top 10 spot at this year's event.

Gustavo Badell Gustavo Badell
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Gustavo Badell At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
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Gustavo Badell's 2008 Olympia Posing Routine.
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9. Ronny Rockel

    Probably the best we've ever seen Ronny was at this year's Ironman. Many felt he should have been second and was in great condition. Hie back still lacks the detail of some of his competitors but he holds his own on this stage. I don't think Ronny will be able to match his Ironman condition and will struggle to secure a top 10 spot in this show. If he nails his conditioning again he could leap frog over a number of guys but I don't see that happening.

Ronny Rockel Ronny Rockel
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Ronny Rockel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
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Ronny Rockel's 2009 Iron Man Posing Routine.
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10. Ahmad Haidar

    Ahmad has an aesthetically pleasing physique but simply isn't big enough to hang with this line-up. He looks amazing from the front and of course has killer abs. Ahmad could sacrafice a few pounds and drop down to the 202-Under class and do well there. I don't see him being a threat to the top six in this show but will display a classic physique most would enjoy possessing.

Ahmad Haidar Ahmad Haidar
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Ahmad Haidar At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
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Ahmad Haidar's 2009 Iron Man Posing Routine.
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11. Marcus Haley

    Marcus has added a bit of size since his injury but the chips are stacked against him in this line-up. He'll need to come in much better conditioned for this show than he did for the Ironman, particularly from the back.

Marcus Haley Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
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Marcus Haley's 2009 Iron Man Posing Routine.
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12. Johnnie Jackson

    Johnnie seems to miss his mark in the early shows and should consider skipping them altogether. He has one of the craziest backs you'll ever see and super thick, dense muscle on his frame. His legs will always be his weakness but in the early shows each season it's his conditioning that holds him back. If Johnnie can pull it together and nail his conditioning he'll be much higher but that's a big "if".

Johnnie Jackson Johnnie Jackson
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Johnnie Jackson At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
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Johnnie Jackson's 2009 Iron Man Posing Routine.
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13. Sergey Shelestov

    I was surprised to see Sergey in this line-up and don't feel he's established himself in the pro ranks to merit an invite to this contest. It's no knock on him personally but this is one of the premiere shows of the year and showcases the best. He needs to show fans that he belongs on this stage by bringing in his best conditioned physique to date. He has a solid foundation but has yet to showcase it to it's fullest potential.

Sergey Shelestov Sergey Shelestov
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Sergey Shelestov At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
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Sergey Shelestov's 2007 Arnold Classic Posing Routine.
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Conclusion

What do you think, will I be leading the experts with these picks or coming up cold in Columbus? We'll find out in a few short weeks.