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2008 Arnold Classic Review.

With all the hype and speculation surrounding the emergence of Phil Heath as the new pro to be beaten, his presumed (by many) dominance at the 2008 Arnold Classic was not to be. Read on to find my thought about the top 10 placings at the 2008 Arnold...

With all the hype and speculation surrounding the emergence of Phil Heath as the new pro to be beaten, his presumed (by many) dominance at the 2008 Arnold Classic was not to be. Instead, Mr. Consistency himself Dexter Jackson proved, once again, that he legitimately belongs among the top three bodybuilders in the world; that he is currently the most consistently conditioned bodybuilder walking the planet.

To be fair to Heath, "The Gift" was not at his best, at least not in the shape he was one week ago when he trounced the Ironman Pro field to take his third pro win. Even so, Dexter seemed to have gained several pounds of quality muscle and presented a superior overall package thus giving him the edge over Phil.

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Dexter Jackson Wins The 2008 Arnold Classic.

Great as both men were, Phil and Dexter were both worked hard to distance themselves from the significantly improved Kai Greene, who seemingly had it all to walk way with an impressive third placement.

It was nice to see of bodybuilding's freakiest arrive in possibly his best shape ever to snatch a well-deserved fourth. Welcome back Branch and congratulations on your added size and improved conditioning (over your last Arnold showing).

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Dexter Jackson Speaks
With Arnold After His Win.

Branch was, however, pursued vigorously by the ever-popular Silvio Samuel who is well and truly back in the hunt with his fifth place over Gustavo Badell (sixth - a man who bettered him by two spots' just two weeks' earlier at the Ironman Pro).

As expected, the top six was highly competitive, and no doubt a headache for the judges' to place, with all competitors bringing their best and none holding back. The real surprise might not have been who made the cut but who, in fact, was left out, with several notables pushed to the bottom six.

dot First Place: Dexter Jackson dot

    It seems bodybuilding commentators say the same thing each year Dexter enters the Arnold: that he is in top shape and is the classiest guy in the show. In fact most say this before the contest even begins, such is Dexter's ability to time his conditioning perfectly. He is never really off and, though he is not the biggest guy out there, does do enough each time to keep the judges' scoring in his favor.

Dexter Jackson Dexter Jackson
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Dexter Jackson.
View More Pics Of Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Arnold.

    Save for 2007, where it could have gone either way between "The Blade" and Victor Martinez, Dexter, in recent years, appears to have had a decided shape, conditioning and general presentation edge over his rivals. Indeed, it would take someone like a freaky Victor who has all the attributes needed to beat anyone when he is in shape, or a Ronnie or Jay to unseat him. And so it was: Dexter again wins the Arnold making it his third victory at this premier event.

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

dot Second Place: Phil Heath dot

    Riding a massive wave of momentum after convincingly winning the Ironman Pro could not place Phil at the top come Arnold time, as was evident after prejudging where he was slightly down on conditioning compared with how he was two weeks' earlier. And this was all it took for Dexter Jackson to gain the edge.

    Though Dexter had the conditioning edge and by virtue of this, the tools to take the winner's trophy, Phil was superior in other respects: overall size, arm development and in certain poses including the most muscular.

Phil Heath Phil Heath
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Phil Heath.
View More Pics Of Phil Heath At The 2008 Arnold.

    They say you have to knock out the champ and although Victor is the current titleholder, Dexter is the next best thing with two Arnold trophies' and a reputation as being one of the competition's best competitor's. And this is what Phil also had to contend with as he sought to wrest the Arnold trophy. He will definitely win this title in the near future but this year he was facing an Arnold veteran out for redemption. And that is a tough combination to beat.

dot Third Place: Kai Greene dot

    After his first pro win at the 2007 Colorado, Kai Greene went back to the gym and planned his assault on the 2008 season. Whatever he did worked tremendously as upon appearing at prejudging he shocked onlookers with added thickness in all muscle groups and conditioning to top what he presented in Colorado. He showed he belonged in the top five from the very first and no one could argue with the final result.

Kai Greene Kai Greene
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Kai Greene.
View More Pics Of Kai Greene At The 2008 Arnold.

    Two weeks' out this author speculated that Kai would be an outside favorite to take a few of the bigger names' down and this proved true. The clause was if he could make the desired improvements. He did, and it paid off. Kai's usual unique posing style and aggressive manner also literally forced watchers' to witness the incredible transformation he had made. Certainly he will be one of 2008's men to beat.

dot Fourth Place: Branch Warren dot

    From the moment Branch walked onstage at the prejudging it was evident he had done his homework in more ways than one. This writer's assertion that he would be seeking redemption looked accurate as Branch presented the best physique he was capable of bringing (at least in my eyes) complete with added leg size and greater balance through the upper and lower extremities.

Branch Warren Branch Warren
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Branch Warren.
View More Pics Of Branch Warren At The 2008 Arnold.

    Added chest and back size and detail did not hurt his chances either. It is just a shame that he had to meet three 'out of this world' bodybuilders' who were equally at their best and had the edge in proportion and aesthetics. For my money, though, it was Branch all the way.

dot Fifth Place: Silvio Samuel dot

    Having improved on his Ironman form, Silvio is again at his best and accordingly was awarded a top six placement. Again he is not one of the largest guys onstage but he compensates sufficiently with stacked muscle and near-flawless conditioning. If he can improve his thickness a little he will be fighting for the title in a few years.

Silvio Samuel Silvio Samuel
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Silvio Samuel.
View More Pics Of Silvio Samuel At The 2008 Arnold.

dot Sixth Place: Gustavo Badell dot

    I'm not exactly sure what Gustavo did over the past two weeks but whatever it was it enabled him to hit the Arnold stage the biggest I have ever seen him. Muscle swelled off every joint and his overall thickness was unmatched by any of his competitors.

Gustavo Badell Gustavo Badell
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Gustavo Badell.
View More Pics Of Gustavo Badell At The 2008 Arnold.

    But this added fullness may have come at a price as noted by his watery legs and blocky waist (more so compared to his last showing). As an entertainer Gustavo certainly had the crowd on the edge of their seats and his aggressive nature made things interesting. He presented the aura of a winner but sadly for him it was not to be.

dot Seventh Place: Toney Freeman dot

    Toney showed an improvement in conditioning from the shape he presented at the Ironman two weeks earlier. Still he still has not recaptured the kind of impact he made when he won the 2007 Ironman and placed third at Arnold the same year.

Toney Freeman Toney Freeman
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Toney Freeman.
View More Pics Of Toney Freeman At The 2008 Arnold.

    Toney was also impressive by way of his amazing V-taper and X-shape combined with his massive thighs and overall width, but at this level conditioning and presentation are equally as important as sheer size and genetic gifts. If Toney can put it all together again he could be back where he belongs, considering the gifts he has: in the Arnold top three.

dot Eighth Place: Melvin Anthony dot

    Bodybuilding fans are as accustomed to seeing an eighth placed Melvin Anthony, regardless of the pro show, as they are used to watching Ronnie fight for 20th at the Olympia. Disappointing to see one of the truly great competitor's of the 21st century slide so far down the placements, but Melvin was not at his best and justifiably awarded.

Melvin Anthony Melvin Anthony
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Melvin Anthony.
View More Pics Of Melvin Anthony At The 2008 Arnold.

    He was in shape, just not the kind of ultra-cut condition that is expected from someone of his competing in the world's biggest bodybuilding contest. Still, Melvin did seemed to have gained several pounds of pure muscle - which will position him well for the Olympia - and was at his best posing-wise.

dot Ninth Place: Johnny Jackson dot

    Looking to have improved his conditioning while retaining the massive size - on a compact frame - that he is known for, Johnny looked better compared with his Ironman showing but did not have the tools to replicate what he did at this show to break the top six in such a competitive line-up.

Johnny Jackson Johnny Jackson
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Johnny Jackson.
View More Pics Of Johnny Jackson At The 2008 Arnold.

    It's good, though, to see Johnny still fighting hard to top placements at all the shows he enters and that he is still one of the best bodybuilder's around.

dot Tenth Place: Desmond Miller dot

    Once again Desmond's superior leg development overshadowed the rest of his physique but he is improving steadily in this regard and it is only a matter of time before he presents a more balanced look. His conditioning looked great, complete with shredded hams and glutes and tight abs.

Desmond Miller Desmond Miller
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Johnny Jackson.
View More Pics Of Desmond Miller At The 2008 Arnold.

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