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Myron Mielke's 2008 Arnold Classic Review.

Dexter Jackson is now a three-time Arnold Classic Champion. Why did he win? Why didn't Phil Heath? Here's my analysis of the judging and the placements along with some commentary on the event.

Dexter Jackson is now a three-time Arnold Classic Champion. Why did he win? Why didn't Phil Heath? Here's my analysis of the judging and the placements along with some commentary on the event.

Victor Martinez didn't compete. Dexter Jackson had already won two Arnold Classics and Phil Heath had the whole bodybuilding community buzzing because of the package he brought to the Iron Man two weeks ago.

Most people, including here's truly, predicted the showdown would be between Jackson and Heath for the title. The real question in this high-caliber show would be: Where's everybody else going to place?


There were a few surprises during the judging and those both dealt with the callouts. Silvio Samuel being in the first callout was a surprise to me. I thought his conditioning was great but he lacked fullness and back thickness.

Even though Silvio was much sharper than he was at the Iron Man, he looked small compared to the other guys next to him. Taking a few months off will be good for Silvio to regain his fullness and to add more back thickness.

Silvio Silvio
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Silvio Samuel.
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Another surprise was Melvin Anthony not being in the first few callouts. He ended up in eighth place and didn't get called out until the fourth group made their way to the stage.

Obviously Melvin looked a little smooth compared to what he previewed at the Iron Man, but he was compared to guys that placed below him and wasn't compared to anyone besides Freeman who placed ahead of him. Seems like he should have had a comparison with Badell since Anthony was only two placings below Gustavo.

Melvin Anthony Melvin Anthony
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Melvin Anthony.
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Even though I predicted Adorthus Cherry to come in last at this show, I thought he'd come in a little bit sharper. It was his first pro competition and who wouldn't jump at the chance to enter the Arnold Classic if you got an invite?

Adorthus Cherry Adorthus Cherry
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Adorthus Cherry.
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Apparently the number of shows AD entered last fall in quest of the IFBB pro card had an effect on his appearance for the Arnold this year. Now that he's gotten his feet wet on a pro stage he should take some time off and fill out and take some time to slowly add more muscle to his frame. He's got great lines and proportion; he just needs to add more muscle everywhere on his frame.

dot Matchup One: Jackson vs. Heath dot

    As I stated earlier, the biggest showdown was between Dexter and Phil. Jackson has two AC titles under his belt and Heath looked phenomenal at the Iron Man. Was his incredible showing due in part to the great lighting at the Iron Man or was it because he wasn't standing next to Jackson in that show?

    With that being said, Phil Heath gave Dexter a run for the money. It was so close that if Heath had been in first and Dexter in second place, the crowd and the many fans watching via the webcast would have been okay with that.

Dexter Jackson Dexter Jackson
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Dexter Jackson.
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    So why did Dexter Jackson win and Phil Heath had to settle for second place? First of all, let me put to rest any conspiracy theories. It's not because Dexter won before and therefore the judges will place him first - no matter what.

Dexter Jacksons' 2008 Arnold Classic Posing Routine.
Watch All The Routines Below.

    It wasn't because of Dexter's ties with a supplement company, which was a huge sponsor. No, it was because Dexter Jackson had the better physique on stage at the 2008 Arnold Classic. When "the Blade" stands next to the other competitors he always looks a tad sharper than everyone else.

Phil Heath Phil Heath
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Phil Heath.
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    He had a certain crispness and only he had it. His muscle maturity was better too and you only get that with time. You really can't speed up that process.

    I thought Dexter would win when I heard Victor was out of the show based on the factors I just mentioned. When I saw Phil at the Iron Man, however, I changed my mind. I was thinking Heath could pull off a victory.

    Heath still looked great at the Arnold, but when he stood next to Dexter, Jackson edged him out. If Heath continues to make the progress he has made in recent years, he will easily win the Arnold Classic in a year or two, but this year he wasn't able to come up with a win.

dot Matchup Two: Greene vs. Warren dot

    The battle for second and third place was fierce. Make no mistake, Branch Warren is back. He was in incredible shape and even won the "Most Muscular" award but he only placed fourth. That was because Kai Greene brought back the conditioning that gained him so much publicity last year.

    Greene also was sporting some extra muscle. He got up to more than 300 pounds during the offseason and many thought this might be a mistake, but he seemed to carry the extra muscle well. It didn't affect his conditioning that much.

Branch Warren Branch Warren
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Branch Warren.
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    Both men have physiques that do not fit the typical aesthetic mold, which Dexter and Phil have, but they have incredible physiques, nonetheless. They might not defeat the pretty physiques, but the judges have no other choice but to give these guys high placings.

    It was close between Warren and Greene. Personally, I would have given Branch Warren third place and put Kai Greene in fourth. Branch's thick, dense muscle and conditioning should have carried him into third. And Warren has a build that is more proportional than Greene's.

Kai Greene Kai Greene
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Kai Greene.
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    Kai has a short, compact torso and Warren's torso, although extremely thick, looks more aesthetically pleasing. (Good grief! I just made a reference to Branch Warren being aesthetic. Well, you know what I mean…)

dot Matchup Three: Silvio vs. Badell dot

    Badell has a tendency to harden up as he poses and comes from behind and works his way up the placings during the callouts. He took the stage in what appeared to be his best showing in some time. As the judging progressed, however, he seemed to fade and that's unusual for Badell.

    Silvio, on the other hand, came out sharp and stayed sharp. His conditioning was better than at the Iron Man and if it had been the same there, he would have bumped up a place or two.

Silvio Samuel Silvio Samuel
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Silvio Samuel.
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    Gustavo was very thick and his abdomen was a little thick also. He wasn't controlling it well during his side poses. Silvio seemed to be controlling stomach better, but he looked a little stringy, especially from the back.

Gustavo Badell Gustavo Badell
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Gustavo Badell.
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    The thickness he displayed at the 2007 Iron Man was not evident at this year's AC. For that reason, even though he had better conditioning than Gustavo, I would have given Badell fifth and Samuel sixth.

The Routines

Melvin Anthony won the best presentation award. Melvin always does a great job of displaying muscle control and posing ability. He strikes the individual poses well and has beautiful, fluid and graceful transitions. After about 90 seconds Melvin turns things around in his routines and starts some lock and pop movements and breakdance type of movements. The crowd loved it and the judges did too.

Kai Greene, who is used to doing some lengthy dance routines, plain old ran out of time. He went over the three-minute time limit. His routine ended with a thud because of that. I think some people felt they should have let him continue, but rules are rules.

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Melvin Anthony Won The Best Presentation Award.

He should have spent less time on his entrance and tiptoeing around and spent more time posing. Had he done that, he would have finished on time and might have had a "Best Presentation" award along with an extra $10,000.

Even though Dexter won the show, his routine looked the same as it always does. Same poses. Same transitions. Same type of music. It'd be great to see him bring something new to the table.

dot The Acrobats dot

    The extra acts of acrobats were an added bonus. Some incredible feats of athleticism, strength, and balance were displayed. I kept asking myself, "Is that even possible?" Both acts were extremely entertaining and a nice addition to the show.

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The Acrobats Were An Added Bonus.

The Interview

After the show onstage in front of thousands of people, Dexter Jackson had the opportunity to be interviewed by the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger. He had the opportunity to present himself as a true champion, one who could be inspiring and show his ability to be a spokesperson for the sport of bodybuilding.

Dexter's a great bodybuilder, but his public speaking skills are almost non-existent. Jay Cutler spoke well after his Olympia wins and Ronnie Coleman, although not extremely eloquent, was at least gracious and didn't seem conceited.

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Dexter Jackson Speaks
With Arnold After His Win.

Dexter's tone and comments seemed so arrogant that I couldn't believe it. This wasn't the WWE where he had a script to follow to make him look like he has a badboy attitude. No, this was an acceptance speech to help the publicity of the Arnold Classic and to show bodybuilding in a better light to the general public.

Maybe Dexter forgot the last time he won the AC he was in many major newspapers across America. Apparently the low carbs affected Dexter's judgment and he felt it was more important to display a persona of arrogance instead of projecting a brighter image of the sport.

Arnold Classic Final Results

  1. Dexter Jackson
  2. Phil Heath
  3. Kai Greene
  4. Branch Warren
  5. Silvio Samuel
  6. Gustavo Badell
  7. Toney Freeman
  8. Melvin Anthony
  9. Johnnie Jackson
  10. Desmond Miller
  11. Moe El Moussawi
  12. David Henry
  13. Ronny Rockel
  14. Deshaun Grimez
  15. Adorthus Cherry

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