May 10th, 2008 is going to be a groundbreaking day in the sport of bodybuilding. It is the first time that the New York Pro is going to be hosting an "Under 202 pound" category.
The competitors that place in the Top 3 will qualify for the subsequent "Under 202 pound" category for the Mr. Olympia. This is important because the smaller, more compact bodybuilders often get overlooked and under-appreciated when they're standing next to much taller mass monsters.
The winner of the Under 202 category for the Olympia will not be considered a "Mr. Olympia", but rather, he will just be the "Lightweight Winner of the Mr. Olympia." These local pro shows (like the New York Pro and Colorado Pro) will become qualifiers for the Mr. Olympia under 202 class. Three guys from every 202 category will qualify for the "Lightweight" Mr. Olympia.
May 10th is also important because it will mark the first time that women's bodybuilding is being included in the New York Pro show. The Top 5 women in this show will also qualify for the Ms. Olympia. So altogether, between these two landmark new editions to this competition, you can call this event "a big deal."
These are the competitors in the show (according to the IFBB website). Top 5 qualify for the Mr. Olympia.
- Jason Arntz, USA (202)
- Elvis Brown, United Kingdom
- Jimmy Canyon, USA (202)
- Gianluca Catapano, Italy
- Brian Chamberlain, USA
- Alfonso Del Rio, Spain
- Charles Dixon, USA
- Guy Ducasse, USA
- Tarek Elsetouhi, Germany
- Oleg Emelyanov, Russia
- Abiu Feliz, USA
- David Henry II, USA
- Roland Huff, USA (202)
- Neset Icli, Netherlands
- Leo Ingram, USA
- Tricky Jackson, USA (202)
- Ken Jones, USA
- Louis Joseph, Canada
- Emro Karaduzovic, USA
- Martin Kjellstrom, Sweden
- Daron Lytle, USA (202)
- Don Long, USA
- Evgeny Mishin, USA
- Sergey Ogorodnikov, Russia
- Bola Ojex, Nigeria (202)
- Ronny Rockel, Germany
- Roc Shabazz, USA
- Joel Stubbs, Bahamas
- Henderson Thorne, Canada
- Zoran Vejic, Serbia
- Ben White, USA
- Nathan Wonsley, USA
- Kai Greene, USA
Here are my predictions for the Top 6 in the "Open" class (in no particular order):
1. Ronny Rockel:
Ronny has probably shown up in shape to two, maybe even three contests in his pro career, the rest of the time he's been off. Sure, if he comes in shape he can cause an upset, but with him that's a big "if."
He brings an excellent overall package to every show. It was debated whether we would do the 202 class, because he has a smaller frame and always comes ripped to shreds, or go to the open class because he's proven he can hold his own against the bigger competitors (placed 2nd behind Dexter Jackson in the 2007 Australian Pro Grand Prix, and 1st at the 2006 Australian Pro Grand Prix).
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Ronnie Rockel At The 2008 New Zealand Grand Elite Pro.
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He's been criticized in the past for lack of back thickness and width, but I believe that's because he would rather keep his perfect proportions, shape and symmetry than gain a ton of weight in the off-season to get more thick and wide. His structure is pleasing, muscular and he has nice, full muscle bellies.
Provided he gets his color right, and has made improvements since his 6th place finish at the New Zealand pro, there's no reason why he can't get his Olympia qualification at this show.
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2. Lou Joseph:
I have to give it up for my Canadian Comrade. Lou won the heavyweight class at the Canadian Bodybuilding Championships last year. He didn't win the overall, but was given a pro card none-the-less (they give one to the winner of each weight class). His trainer is Scott Abel, a trainer in Canada.
He may be one of the shorter competitors, but his mass just makes him a complete freak. He stole the show last year with his presence on stage, and overall "I'm going to be a pro and everyone should know it" attitude. His physique was impressive with his delts and arms already looking ready for the IFBB. He could be the dark horse that comes out of nowhere to just dominate this competition.
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3. Charles Dixon:
Charles won the light-heavyweight class at the 2007 NPC National Championships. He was one of 7 people to win their pro card that night. In his class, he had to contest against the likes of Peter Putnam, Al Auguste and Manny Torres (among others).
If you've seen any of their physiques, you'd know that Charles would have had to bring the best package he could to beat them. He was thick as a brick, hard as a rock, and F-U-L-L. This guys has muscles and then some! He just has to work on his mandatory posing.
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Charles Dixon At The 2007 NPC National Championships.
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His inexperience (he's only competed in the NPC Nationals) is exposed in his lack of posing finesse. You have to remember that the judges are ALWAYS watching you on stage, you are never safe. If he works on it with a posing coach between now and the New York Pro show, then he can definitely be a force to be reckoned with.
4. Ben White:
This is the man whose (self-proclaimed) nickname is "The Greatest". If he's said it once, he's said it a million times; this show is his. He has 120% confidence in himself that we WILL WIN this show, and has guaranteed it online, in print, and on video.
His claim to fame is placing first at the 2007 USA Bodybuilding and Figure championships. This is where he got his pro card, and hasn't competed since. MuscleTech claims he's the "Future Star of Bodybuilding... A Super physiological phenomenon." He also claims to be one of the strongest bodybuilders around.
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Ben White At The 2007 NPC USA Bodybuilding Championships.
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If he can bring the same conditioning, but a bigger package to the New York Pro than he did at the USAs, look for this guy to embody his self-fulfilling prophecy of being "The Greatest".
5. David Henry:
What are we going to do with "The Giant Slayer?" David is coming into this competition after placing an upsetting 12th in both the Pro Iron Man and Arnold Classic competitions in February. He didn't do the New York Pro last year, but he did compete in the Colorado Pro and Atlantic City Pro around his time, and placed a respectable 5th and 3rd respectively.
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David Henry At The 2008 Arnold Classic.
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He has the potential to do really well against the biggest competitors, it's just up to the judges how they'll place him on any given night. He also usually comes in sharp, shredded, peeled and tight.
According to the IFBB website, he has chosen NOT to compete in the under 202 class. Most likely because he wants to be in the Open Mr. Olympia, and not the Lightweight one. Who knows whether this was a good choice or a bad one for him. We'll find out May 10th.
Download: WMV (24 MB)
6. Kai Greene:
Wow! How many of your were surprised at the Arnold classic with Kai's new mass? I sure was! I had heard he'd gotten up to 310 pounds in the off-season, but then he brought an unbelievable package of shape, symmetry, size and balance to the Arnold Classic in February where he placed a respectable 3rd.
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Kai Greene At The 2008 Arnold Classic.
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In terms of size, I've heard from various pros that if he comes in somewhere between where he was last year and where he was at the Arnold, he has a VERY good chance of taking this show. He has a huge head-start because of how impressed people were with him at the Arnold. He placed 6th at this contest last year, and I have a very good feeling he'll be doing a lot better this time around.
Download: WMV (29 MB)