2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro Preview!

If you've been following the sport for any amount of time, you probably have your favorite competitors and those you root for. Here are the men I think are going to place in the top 5 of this year's competition.

The 2007 Mr. Olympia competition left so many unanswered questions for fans of bodybuilding: What will our beloved sport be like without Ronnie "The Unbelievable" Coleman and Markus "The German Freak" Ruhl? Was Jay's win a politically motivated one, or did he legitimately edge out Victor? When will Vince Taylor call it quits?

The Iron Man Pro is the kickoff to the 2008 IFBB Professional season, which is sure to be one full of heartbreak (Branch sitting out another show?) surprises (Dennis Wolf being the next Mr. O?), gifts (Darrem Charles winning another pro show?) and new blood (Evan Centopani making his pro debut?).

The Iron Man Pro is taking place on the 15-17th of February at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This is the 19th year of the Iron Man Pro show, and like the 18 before it, it promises not to disappoint. The Iron Man is probably California's largest and most famous fitness/bodybuilding event, so it's only fitting that for this year it moves to a larger venue in order to accommodate the ever-expanding list of athletes and attendees.

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2008 Iron Man Pro!
The 2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro will be held February 15th - 17th at the Los Angeles Convention Center in 2008. Find full coverage leading up to the contest here! We have contest info, athlete interviews and more.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

The competition stage and concurrent FitExpo have moved from the Pasadena Civic Center to the Los Angeles Convention Center; thus the name of the event was subsequently changed to The Los Angeles FitExpo. According to the 2008 Iron Man Pro blog on bodybuilding.com, the Iron Man is "the biggest professional bodybuilding contest on the West Coast and the only pro show in Los Angeles, the mecca of the sport"; in other words, it's kind of a big deal.

If you've been following the sport for any amount of time, you probably have your favorite competitors and those you root for. Here are the men I think are going to place in the top 5 of this year's competition.

dot 1. Toney Freeman (1st place at 2007 Ironman) dot

    Last year, Toney Freeman was the favorite going into this contest after coming in 6th in 2006. However, the issue for him at the Olympia was that he was off the mark: He was smooth. Many argue that he can well afford to add a lot more mass to his 6'2" frame. He was just off his peak this time around, and hopefully he knows what to do to make it better.

Toney Toney
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Toney Freeman - 2007 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    So the question for this event is whether we will see the X-man with added lean body mass, or will he bring the same smaller, shredded package he brought to last year's Iron Man that allowed him to take first.

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2007 Iron Man - Toney Freeman

Windows Media (15.1 MB)

dot 2. Phil Heath (Didn't Compete Last Year) dot

Phil Phil
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Phil Heath - 2007 IFBB Arnold Classic.

    From last year to this year, the man who had the best conditioning and lines at the Arnold, has spent a lot of time working on his back detail, and overall leg size. Shawn Ray has said, "He is a combination of me and Flex Wheeler." That's gotta mean something!

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2006 Colorado Pro - Phil Heath

Windows Media (347 KB)

dot 3. Silvio Samuel (4th place, 2007) dot

    I call Silvio Samuel "The Marathon Man." He competed in 8 different contests in 2007, and never placed lower than 7th. He won the Europa Supershow, and came in 2nd at the Iron Man Pro. It seemed as though in every contest, he was incrementally better than the last in terms of level of confidence, conditioning, and bringing his abdomen in.

Silvio Silvio
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Silvio Samuel - 2007 IFBB Olympia.

    Anyone who can compete (and do well!) 8 times in one year deserves recognition and praise. He is definitely an up-and-comer in this sport, and will be a force to be reckoned with at this year's Iron Man.

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2007 Iron Man - Silvio Samuel

Windows Media (15.1 MB)

dot 4. David Henry (6th place, 2007) dot

    Have you seen this guy's abs in the new MuscleTech ads? JEEZE! He would give Rich Gaspari and Flex Wheeler a run for their money in terms of conditioning. After placing 16th at the 2006 Olympia, he redeemed himself by coming in 10th.

David Henry David Henry
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David Henry - 2007 IFBB Olympia.

    He is living up to his nickname of "The Giant Slayer," and giving hope to the "more vertically challenged" bodybuilders. His conditioning helped him stand out as one of the best bodybuilders of 2006 and 2007, even though his height often worked against him.

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2007 Iron Man - David Henry

Windows Media (15.1 MB)

dot 5. Gustavo Badell (Didn't Compete Last Year) dot

    "The Freakin' Rican." It seems that every year, the big question is "What will Badell do with his stomach?" For years, it protruded like he was in his third trimester; this past year however, he seemed to bring it under control and came in to most of his contests smaller than we're used to seeing him.

Gustavo Gustavo
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Gustavo Badell - 2007 IFBB Olympia.

    That loss of size came at a cost after he placed a controversial 8th at the 2007 Olympia. He was also a little soft, especially in the legs. Since placing 3rd at the Olympia in 2004 and 2005, Gustavo Badell has not regained that "special" form. It appears he lost his footing these last few years. Here's hoping he can get it back before it's too late.

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2007 Arnold - Gustavo Badell

Windows Media (15.1 MB)


6. Johnnie Jackson (Didn't Compete Last Year):

    We all know Johnnie Jackson has a powerlifting background; this is nothing new. However, did we all know Ronnie Coleman lifts super heavy, too? And look where it got him! Johnnie has consistently qualified for the Mr. Olympia every year since 2003, and 2007 was his first year breaking the top 10 in that show.


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Johnnie Jackson - 2007 IFBB Olympia.

    This determination and competitive drive is what makes Johnnie one of the better bodybuilders out there. If he can add a bit of size and sweep to his otherwise powerful legs, there's no telling what this man is capable of.


7. Eddie Abbew (3rd, 2007 Iron Man):

    This is Eddie's 9th year on the pro circuit, but you couldn't tell from the way he looks! He always comes in as one of the best conditioned athletes on stage. It's been said that the British athletes are often overlooked, but I don't think any of the judges can miss "Nice Guy" Eddie this time around.


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Eddie Abbew - 2007 IFBB Olympia.

    He's had to work extremely hard for every 'top ten' placing he's achieved, which are few and far between. Last year, he was in the first call-out with Toney Freeman and Mark Dugdale; here's hoping we get to see a repeat performance of that night. He's monstrous, but cut; massive, but striated; gi-normous, but ripped. No matter what country you're from, that is a winning combination.

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2007 Iron Man - Eddie Abbew

Windows Media (11.0 MB)


8. Desmond Miller (Didn't Compete Last Year):

    "The New York Giant" beat out Evan Centopani in the 2006 NPC Nations to get his pro-card. He subsequently competed only twice in 2007, placing 4th at the New York Pro, and 2nd at the Keystone Pro in May. He's taken 9 months off during which time, I hope, he's figured out how to control his waist (it almost overpowered his lats at the NY Pro), and another little upper body "problem"...


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Desmond Miller - Keystone Pro Classic.

    However, "The Giant" does have crazy, veiny, grainy quads and crazy chest striations, though his chest and back could use some thickness. Assuming he made the necessary improvements since the Keystone, Desmond will definitely break the top ten.


9. Will Harris (Didn't Compete Last Year)

    "World" Harris is to back, like Branch Warren is to legs, like Arnold is to chest, like Sergio is to abs. He's got it! The question remains, can he bring his other body parts up to par, to match his "World-wide" back? He took a year off in 2006 to work on his lagging body parts, and started 2007 with a bang by coming in 2nd at the Europa Supershow.


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Will Harris - 2007 IFBB Olympia.

    However, his luck quickly ran out, as he placed 15th at this year's Olympia. Hopefully "Big Will" has been training hard and tweaking his diet to bring back the Will of Old -- the combination of size, symmetry and leanness that almost beat Silvio Samuel.


10. Troy Alves (Didn't Compete Last Year):

    I don't have much to say about our friend, Mr. Alves. He took most of 2007 off, except for two shows where he placed 6th and 10th respectively, in order to gain much needed size, depth and width.


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Troy Alves.

    I placed him in my line-up because I have blind-faith that if he brings the same conditioned package we've come to expect, but with at least 20 more pounds of lean beef, he will rock this show.

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Bonus
2008 Iron Man Wallpaperdot

2008 Iron Man Pro: Iron Man Lineup!
2008 Iron Man Pro
2008 Iron Man Pro: The Lineup!
Photo Courtesy Of Kris Gethin.

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2008 Iron Man Pro: Back To Work!
2008 Iron Man Pro
2008 Iron Man Pro: Back To Work!
Photo Courtesy Of Kris Gethin.

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2008 Iron Man Pro: Side Triceps!
2008 Iron Man Pro
2008 Iron Man Pro: Side Triceps Pose!
Photo Courtesy Of Kris Gethin.

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