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Badell Vs. Priest At The 2005 Ironman.

For the second year in a row, the IFBB's first pro show of the season, the Ironman, was held on a day, which was pouring rain. Regardless of the wet weather, Gustavo Badell was dry as a bone and made his mark in bodybuilding with his first pro win.

For the second year in a row, the IFBB's first pro show of the season, the Ironman, was held on a day, which was pouring rain. Regardless of the wet weather, Gustavo Badell was dry as a bone and made his mark in bodybuilding with his first pro win.

The prejudging started with the same format, which was used at the Mr. Olympia. Each competitor came out by themselves and went through the compulsory poses. I liked this procedure as it lends itself to judging that is more fair and allows everyone to see who's in shape and who is not. It makes it easier for the first call outs to be made in the round that follows.

The first athlete to take the stage was Lee Priest, the Blond Myth. He slowly walked onto the stage and it was obvious he was there with intentions of winning. He looked bigger and fuller than last year and his conditioning was dead on. Just standing there with his lats flared, I knew Badell and Anthony needed to be at their absolute best to beat the Aussie, who now resides in Lancaster, CA, which, incidentally, is where I live also.

Lee In 2004 Vs. 2005.

As each competitor filed on stage one by one, it was obvious that it was going to be a great show because many of the athletes were in fabulous condition. Even the first-timers were in good shape.

Veteran competitor and last year's Night of Champions winner, Melvin Anthony came out and looked to be in good shape, but appeared a little small and a tad smooth.

Badell, on the other hand, stepped up and everyone knew he was dialed in. He was shredded and his muscles were full and huge. He looked to be 10 to 15 pounds heavier than last year and just as ripped.

Melvin @ The 2004 Night Of Champions. Learn More...

The biggest surprise of the show for me was when Jocelyn Pelletier walked on stage. My buddy, Mike Harris, who attended the show with me, looked at me and asked, "Is this a joke? What's the story on THIS guy?" Jocelyn was a little out of place as he looked to be in his sixties and appeared to weigh about 150 pounds with no tan. Mike was determined to get the scoop on the guy and asked several competitors, who we saw later at the FitExpo. They just smiled and said they were wondering the same thing. I thought Mike's curiosity was quite humorous.

Jocelyn Pelletier @ The 2005 Ironman.

Rounds One and Two pitted the IFBB behemoths against each other. The comparisons made it obvious who was in the running and who was not. The first callouts compared Priest, Badell, Alves and Anthony. From most of these comparisons I knew it would be extremely close between Priest and Badell. (Personally, after prejudging, I would have given the nod to Priest.

Despite Priest being a little softer in the hams and glutes, I felt Lee's shape and size were superior to Badell's. Alves and Anthony would be battling it out for third and fourth. Fifth place was up for grabs. Kamali, Morris, Titus, Henry and Dugdale were all battling for a top-five placing.

Upon entering the auditorium for the finals show, we were handed pencils. "Why do we need these?" I asked.

"For the score cards you'll have at your seats."

Each fan had the opportunity to pick the top-ten placings. All the correct entries would be eligible to win some prizes. I thought this concept was a pretty cool idea. As the top ten were called out, I proudly displayed my card to my buddy to show him I had picked the top ten correctly. My ordering, however, was slightly different than the judges' final standings.

Here are my observations of the top-ten finalists in order of their actual placings:

10th Place - Indrise Ward El

Idrise looked good, but not great. He had a beautiful thigh sweep, but it looked like he had torn the inner vastus muscles on each leg. He had full, round muscle bellies, but he needed more width in his delts. His delts looked huge in a back double-bicep pose, but when he was standing relaxed from the the front or a front lat spread, his shoulders didn't look wide enough. It's probably more genetic in nature due to narrow clavicles. He controlled his abs better this year.

9th Place - Mike Morris

Mike was in good condition. If he would have placed a couple notches higher it wouldn't have surprised me. Morris has a similar physique to Craig Titus. Morris was big and powerful looking. He also was very lean with great legs. His waist could be a little smaller, however, so he doesn't appear too blocky. I saw Mike walking around the shopping center across from the auditorium after the prejudging. I told him he looked great. Up close his shoulder width is incredible.

8th Place - Mark Dugdale

Wow! Dugdale was in great shape. He has near perfect proportions and he was shredded. I saw him at the Mr. Olympia and he said he was one week from starting his diet for the Ironman. Mark, you definitely know what you're doing when it comes to diet. There were lots of boos from the crowd when his placing was announced. With a little more size he would have been in the top five, maybe the top three. Give him some time to fill out and he'll be collecting his share of first place trophies in the pro ranks.

7th Place - David Henry

David Henry slipped a placing from sixth to seventh this year. He looked bigger than last year and just as shredded. He had a great back with fine striations in his lower lats. Based on his conditioning, I personally had him in fifth place. Size won out, however, in the eyes of the judges.

6th Place - Craig Titus

Craig dropped to his knees in disbelief or disappointment when his place was announced. Craig was in better shape than last year and is getting closer to drying out. His back needs to lose a layer of water from his neck to his glutes. Like Mike Morris, his waist could be a little smaller. I thought Craig should have been seventh or eighth.

5th Place - King Kamali

This is the first time I had seen Kamali in competition. Judging against photos in magazines, he looked really good. He was sharp, but not quite enough to garner a third or fourth place spot. King has very pronounced shoulder development and good tie-ins. It makes his lines stand out more than the competitors around him. When he puts on size, he doesn't become blocky.

4th Place - Melvin Anthony

Despite winning the $1,000 Vince Gironda award for presentation, Anthony came up short in fourth place. That's where I had him too. I got the feeling he thought the title was his throughout the day and night. He had the best lines and most beautiful physique in the show, but he wasn't sharp enough or big enough. His posing routine reminded me of his mentor's, the incredible John Brown. Anthony came back for an encore with his routine. I think the crowd was wanting more of his robotic, limbo dancing style for the encore, but he did classic and flowing posing instead. It was admirable when Melvin gave the $1,000 he got for his posing award to sixth-place Craig Titus. Only the top five were to receive any cash.

3rd Place - Troy Alves

Troy was shredded. Troy was dry. Troy was dialed in. Troy had striated glutes. Troy had paper-thin skin. Next to Priest and Badell, Troy just wasn't big enough. I had him in third like the judges.

2nd Place - Lee Priest

A very close second. I thought Lee was going to win it all. He came out strong in prejudging and was actually ahead of Badell. His posing was great at the night show too. Badell just edged him out at the end. Gustavo was a little tighter. I liked Lee's lines and his overwhelming size with a tiny little waist to boot. His arms are incredible. Lonnie Teper said they are the best ever in the sport. Despite all that, Badell was thicker all around, including the waist. Based on aesthetics, my vote would have been for Priest, but I knew the judges would go for Badell, so I had Lee in second on my score card also.

1st Place - Gustavo Badell

Gustavo was dialed in and bigger than last year. His coach, Milos Sarcev, seems to know Badell's body really well. Whatever he has Gustavo doing seems to be working quite well. Badell was thick and ripped. He also had a huge smile of confidence that showed he was the guy to beat. And he was. I liked The Badell family on stage afterwards with his little girl on his shoulder. It's good to see that nice guys do finish first sometimes! After the show, Gustavo predicted that he would win the Arnold Classic on March 5.

Honorable & Dishonorable Mentions

The 2005 Ironman was indeed a very exciting contest. The quality of the athletes was outstanding. Ed Van Amsterdam was a newcomer to the pro scene and was incredibly huge! Look for this guy to do well in future competitions.

Rusty Jeffers was in good shape and had a nice routine. He did many different poses with various transitions. (Too many of these guys can only do seven or eight poses and then they repeat them two or three times for about three or four minutes!) Rusty's performance was refreshing.

Frank Roberson was entertaining in his cowboy hat and boots, but shouldn't these props be used for guest posing? And another thing, to all pro competitors, if you ain't got striated glutes, keep 'em covered - please.

One Last Thing...

So who was the 150-pound guy my buddy wanted to know the story on? Well, Lonnie Teper let everyone know at the night show. Apparently Jocelyn is from Canada and won his pro card some thirty years ago. He felt like competing again, I guess. Why? I don't know. End of story.