The New York Professional Bodybuilding championships are upon us, and once again they prove to be nothing short of exciting. The East Coast bodybuilding fans are known as vocal and passionate supporters of the sport, and on Saturday they as well as visitors to the Big Apple will be in for a real treat.
With a large contingent of big name bodybuilders on hand, as well as several promising new pros, this year's New York Pro could be the best ever. Top tier athletes to compete will include the massive Dennis James, who keeps getting better and better each year, perennial favorite and last year's winner Darrem Charles, and new superstar, and Mr. Olympia wildcard winner, Dave Henry.
Emerging pros include recent Colorado Classic winner, Phil Heath, who is almost certain to get a top placing here, huge Bill Willmore and overall Mr. North America Marcus Haley. Of special interest will be the inclusion of controversial bodybuilders Alexander Federov and King Kamali. These two have had sketchy bodybuilding careers to date, and both will want to redeem themselves in the eyes of the judges and fans.
Both have amazing physiques, and if either of them peaks just right, things could get interesting. Rounding off the card will be 29 great pro bodybuilding athletes, all looking to prove themselves. An excellent line up of athletes and great venue (the Tribecca Performing Arts at BMCC, New York) makes the 2006 New York Pro one not to be missed.
For those attending, pre-judging starts at 2pm EST with the finals beginning at 7:30pm EST. For those who can't attend, a live web cast of the entire show will be available absolutely free on Bodybuilding.com.
Top Six Predictions
1. Dennis James:
After an excellent six place finish at the 2005 Olympia, Dennis James in his first show of the 2006 season will be wanting to again cement his position as one of the top bodybuilders in the world. If Dennis can arrive in shape, with an improved mid-section (as area he has been heavily critiqued for), he has to be the favorite to win the New York Pro.
His muscle size from top to bottom will not be matched, and his freaky shape (which has seen him place as high as fourth at the Olympia) will give him the added advantage onstage. Look for Dennis to make a major impact as he out-muscles the competition to win his first show of the season.
2. Darrem Charles:
Last years winner, Darrem Charles, usually competes in tremendous shape and has the kind of lines that capture the judge's attention. However, on this occasion he will be up against Dennis James, who routinely places higher then he at the biggest show of them all: the Olympia.
In saying this, Darrem will be as classy as usual and probably have the best posing routine onstage. Depending on exactly what the judges want, it could be very close between Dennis and Darrem. Overall conditioning will probably determine the outcome.
3. Phil Heath:
Last weeks Colorado Pro winner, Phil Heath, might come close to beating Darrem in this contest, but given Darrem is the standing winner and will be wanting to avenge his second placing in Colorado, he should do just enough to win.
Blessed with a tremendous physique (with flaring muscles and small joints) and touted as the next big IFBB pro superstar, Phil will impress those in attendance at the New York Pro. If either of the top two - as predicted here - are off their condition, he may even pull off an upset.
4. Dave Henry:
Another who could place higher if the top three are off the game is the powerful Dave Henry. It could be argued that Dave will present the perfect package at this show, as his development from front to back; top to bottom is usually unmatched. However, he will probably lack the overall size and density the top three display, which will relegate him to fourth on this occasion.
5. Marcus Haley:
Based on his conditioning at last weeks Colorado Classic where he presented an ultra ripped physique to come in at fourth place, massive Marcus Haley should place in at fifth at this year's New York Pro.
Another of the new breed of pro bodybuilder, Marcus definitely has something to prove in this his rookie year.
6. Bill Willmore:
Bill Willmore is another of the new pros who will be looking to establish himself as a threat in whichever contest he enters.
Bill presented a great package at last week's Colorado Pro to take fifth and should make a great impression at the New York Pro.
It is hard to say exactly where Alexander Federov will place, as he hasn't really been tested as a seasoned pro (other than his dismal 2005 Olympia effort where he missed his peak by a wide margin). If he comes in excellent shape, Alexander might make the top six. However in saying this, he is up against some of today's best shape monsters and will need to have worked on his symmetry since last year to stand any chance of placing.
Given Alexander has been hyped probably more than any other pro in recent history, the fans will be looking forward to seeing him at the New York Pro. If he hits his peak, he will impress with his massive size, but is unlikely to place near the top due to structural weaknesses.
Another who is notorious for missing his peak is King Kamali. When he nails his conditioning, King looks very impressive with great thigh flare and one of the thicker backs around. His highly entertaining posing routine is always a sight to see. It remains to be seen if he can silence the critics and place in the top six. If he does put it all together King could place as high as fourth - an excellent result in such an esteemed line-up.
The 2006 New York Professional Bodybuilding Championships is shaping up (no pun intended) to be a great show. The caliber of veteran and rising star athletes alike just seems to be getting better with each passing year. This year's show has it all: the mystery factor with the inclusion of King Kamali and Alexander Federov, an excellent test for Heath, Haley and Wilmore, and excitement as James, Charles and Henry battle it out for first.