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Arnold Classic Preview

There's a wolf on the prowl at this year's Arnold Classic, but every top
bodybuilder is gunning for a win.

2014 Arnold Classic IFBB Pro Men's Bodybuilding Preview

All eyes will be on the big stage in Columbus, Ohio for the upcoming Arnold Classic. Check out this preview and let us know your predictions in the comments!

Since its inception in 1989, the unparalleled Arnold Sports Festival has attracted droves of people to Columbus, Ohio, every year for myriad sporting events like archery, fencing, and gymnastics, just to name a few. Of course, the reason bodybuilding fans love this time of year is the Arnold Classic. The world's best IFBB pro bodybuilders will be in Columbus from February 27 to March 2, and you can bet they'll be gunning for the top prize.

For many superstar hopefuls, this annual pilgrimage to what some may consider the Mecca of bodybuilding is an opportunity to stand alongside some of the best bodies in the business, showcase long hours of hard work, and gain bragging rights. In addition to the main event, the men's Arnold Classic, this year's show also includes the Fitness, Bikini, and Figure International, as well as the brand new Arnold Classic 212.

This year's Arnold stage will see no shortage of incredible bodies from a variety of promising newcomers and established seasoned vets. As they say, this year's event is wide open. In my mind, several men stand out of the Arnold Classic ranks. Join me as I take a look and make some bold predictions.

9th
Brandon Curry

Brandon Curry has big things ahead of him. After triumphant appearances at the 2013 Arnold Classic Brazil and at the 2008 NPC USA Bodybuilding Championships, some are calling Curry the next bodybuilding superstar. His weaknesses in proper conditioning and leg development may get in the way of a sure-fire win, but based on his prior top six placements, he will at least have a spot on the top ten list.

8th
Victor Martinez

Victor Martinez is one of those contenders who definitely shows promise and potential but just doesn't quite make the cut when it counts. Formerly an Olympia favorite, Martinez has an enviable body shape that cannot be attained merely with barbells and a proper diet. Despite having such a genetic gift, Martinez hasn't been able to place himself among the pantheon of bodybuilding immortals. Call it bad luck or bad decision-making, but you can still count on Martinez to show up enough to strut his way to top ten placement.

7th
Evan Centopani

A massive competitor with enough raw size to dominate any pro stage, the 260-pound Evan Centopani made the best possible first impression by winning his pro debut at the 2009 New York Pro. He followed up this early success with another victory at the 2011 Flex Pro Show and placed fourth at the Arnold Classic shortly thereafter. Things seemed to only be on the upswing until 8th and 13th finishes at the 2012 and 2013 Olympias, respectively, slowed down his initial momentum. There's no denying that he has the attributes—arguably the best shoulders, chest, and arm development around—to trounce the competition, but it's just a question of whether he'll be prepared to flaunt it when it counts. If he does, he could easily spring to top six placement.

6th
Toney Freeman

At 47, the age-defying Toney Freeman continues to amaze with his primed muscle development and striking symmetry. The "X Man," who has been pro since 2003, placed third at last year's Arnold and second at both the Masters Olympia and Pro World in 2012. This impressive pedigree, along with some of the widest shoulders and a set of incredible posing skills, has made him a fan favorite. Motivated by his disappointing finish at his last Olympia, Freeman is likely to step it up this year to redeem himself.

5th
Branch Warren

Branch Warren has an impressive record: as a two-time Arnold champion and one-time Olympia runner-up, he's pretty much done it at all as a pro bodybuilder. Unfortunately, his excessively vascular and grainy back, chest, and arm developments have left a blemish on an otherwise incredible frame. In addition, his gargantuan legs and pure mass can be cited as other possible shortcomings.

Interestingly, his weaker body parts were still larger than many of his peers, allowing him to win the Arnold Classic Most Muscular title more times than he won the event itself! With a much improved upper body, Branch is a more complete bodybuilder, although he now lacks the shredded shape that gave him his legendary status. Some feel his ninth place finish at last year's Olympia was quite generous, but I have a feeling he will bring the bang this year.

4th
Cedric McMillan

There probably isn't a single inch on this 6-foot frame that isn't covered by shapely muscle. The 2013 FIBO Power Germany champion, Cedric McMillan, hearkens back to the taller competitors of old, except that he holds around 40 pounds more muscle. Though he missed his mark and placed a mediocre 12th at both the 2013 Arnold Classic and Olympia events, McMillan continues to impress with his currently unrivaled potential. As we know, however, raw potential doesn't always equate to wins. Should he put a few more finishing touches on his otherwise flawless physique and bring the super shredded Heath-like conditioning that wins shows, there will be no touching this statuesque competitor.

3rd
Ben Pakulski

Huge, freakishly conditioned, and balanced are the perfect descriptors for the physique Big Ben Pakulski routinely brings to the IFBB stage. With an excellent record that includes a second place finish at last year's Arnold and third place at the Australian Pro Grand Prix shortly after, Pakulski will always be a threat when he's at his best. Having sat out the 2013 Olympia, Pakulski has had more time to prepare to do one better than his 2013 placement at this year's Arnold Classic. I think he certainly has it in him, too, as he has the best legs in the business and an impressive upper body. It's merely a matter of time for the Colossal Canadian.

2nd
Shawn Rhoden

Speaking of winning potential, the near-perfectly proportioned Shawn Rhoden is ready for a successful year. In the last fourteen pro contests, he's wrapped up four wins and third and fourth place finishes at the 2012 and 2013 Olympias, respectively. Rhoden is definitely a favorite to win this year's Arnold. His pro career took off on shaky legs, but he worked his abs off and returned better than ever to blow everyone away en route to becoming one of 2012 and 2013's top pro competitors. At 5-foot-10 and 240 pounds, he is poised to snag a spot in the top three or maybe even a victory this year, but there is a certain German Giant in his way.

1st
Dennis Wolf

Dennis Wolf is no stranger to pressures of the big stage. He's recovered from a 16th position at his first Olympia in 2006 to take third at last year's event. Dennis Wolf comes into this year's Arnold Classic as a favorite to win the show. Huge, shredded, and aesthetically pleasing for such a large competitor, the monolithic German took second at both the 2011 and 2012 Arnolds, and a win at the 2012 IFBB EVLs Prague Pro Championships. For Wolf to win this year, he simply needs to show up with career-best conditioning, which isn't exactly his strong suit. Wolf has the size and shape to beat his fellow pros, but poor calf development could allow a particularly strong contender to edge him out. If all things align for Dennis, 2014 could be Year of the Wolf.

Who will win 2014's epic event? What will be the main rivalries and who will be compared to whom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and be there to experience all the excitement or watch the events unfold on Bodybuilding.com's exclusive webcast!





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About The Author

As an active martial artist, bodybuilder and accredited personal trainer, David employs the latest cutting edge research to enhance his own progress.

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Showing 1 - 25 of 26 Comments

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mrlongisland1

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mrlongisland1

Pulling for Rhoden.

Feb 19, 2014 3:32pm | report
 
dwest62

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dwest62

Hoping Brandon Does better than the prediction. Also think Rhoden will pul numero Uno.

Feb 19, 2014 7:20pm | report
 
NVious

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NVious

Do you have a bb.com account? Would love to neg you for putting Branch in your top 10.

Feb 19, 2014 7:51pm | report
 
cel005

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cel005

hahaha! thought the same thing.

Feb 20, 2014 8:04am | report
Mattlikescardio

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Mattlikescardio

Big Ben. Reppin Canada. Stupid question - do competitors lose points for being too big, or is it more for being disproportionate?

Feb 19, 2014 11:39pm | report
 
joeharman

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joeharman

Too big...no. Disproportionate...definitely. Smaller frames (comparatively, of course) have beat out size, but that has usually always been because of superior symetry. Dexter Jackson at the 08' Mr Olympia is a great example. The bigger cutler lost to a smaller yet more symetrical and complete Jackson. Now, size and symetry (Wolf for example) pose a huge threat to any other competitor.

Feb 22, 2014 3:11am | report
prdpmaan100

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prdpmaan100

"Great"

Feb 20, 2014 1:43am | report
 
dominicanhulk

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dominicanhulk

Victor Martinez will surely step his game up at the classics

Feb 20, 2014 6:47am | report
 
roniecoelho

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roniecoelho

Hope that the 3 first places goes to Ben, Evan and Wolf.

Feb 20, 2014 10:19am | report
 
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
  • wt: 182.98 lbs
  • bf: 12.0%
jwethall

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jwethall

This is Wolf's show! No question this year, Wolf is going to dominate. Not one bodybuilder on this list brings the package Dennis does. Lights out baby!

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Feb 20, 2014 10:44am | report
 
joeharman

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joeharman

I wouldn't say that not one bodybuilder on this list brings the package that wolf does...Rhoden and Pakulski both have what it takes and have both brought superbly built frames to the show. Rhoden especially knows from experience how threatening wolf is and will definitely give wolf a close run for his money. That aside, even though I wasn't a wolf fan at the last Olympia, I found myself cheering for him in the end...wouldn't have given him less than second personally.

Feb 22, 2014 3:05am | report
mswhittinghill

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mswhittinghill

Can't wait to go this year with the Twinlab Militia!

Feb 20, 2014 2:42pm | report
 
evchouinard

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evchouinard

Wolf and Flex without a doubt!

Feb 20, 2014 3:10pm | report
 
buckshotclub

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buckshotclub

Wolf all day long!

Feb 21, 2014 7:03pm | report
 
pogioli4

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pogioli4

To say that Wolf or anyone else is going to win hands down is a little bit of a stretch...but yeah, Wolf's gonna win it

Feb 21, 2014 9:31pm | report
 
joeharman

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joeharman

Pretty solid predictions, I may switch things up a bit but this sport is FULL of surprises. Other sports you see who's playing, know who's injured, what teams have been up to during preseasons and blah blah, but most of these guys are either recluses or are just media shy until days before a competition. My only big adjustment to the above list may be to take Branch out of top 5...not sure who I'd put in his place but I just feel someone else will push him lower. Victor may come to surprise and I hope he does, but he just seems to unpredictable before a show so I wouldn't put money on it. Either way, stoked to see this!

Feb 22, 2014 3:00am | report
 
littlejogi

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littlejogi

BPak all the way! He's looking incredible right now!

Feb 23, 2014 2:15pm | report
 
simourd44

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simourd44

So excited to hit the show

Feb 24, 2014 8:01pm | report
 
puccadaddy

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puccadaddy

The wolf will dominate,would like to see Evan do well though.

Feb 26, 2014 7:54am | report
 
ThatDudeCheek

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ThatDudeCheek

Pulling for McMillian. He was my instructor when I went to WLC. Hope he does well.

Feb 27, 2014 1:49am | report
 
TheHybridTitan

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TheHybridTitan

Go Wolf!

Feb 27, 2014 8:29pm | report
 
cosmos1256

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cosmos1256

CEDRIC MCMILLAN looks well rounded to win.

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Feb 28, 2014 9:09am | report
 
DavidZiegler

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DavidZiegler

time to get serious!

Mar 1, 2014 7:13am | report
 
bigdaddy1972

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bigdaddy1972

wolf is bringing it

Mar 1, 2014 4:50pm | report
 
MillZahidi

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MillZahidi

Rhoden > Wolf

Mar 2, 2014 11:49pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 26 Comments

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