|Muscletime Predictions for the 2009 Arnold Classic|
|Written by Muscletime|
|Wednesday, 18 February 2009 22:37|
The 2009 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic marks the return of IFBB pro bodybuilder Victor Martinez to the competitive bodybuilding stage. Victor Martinez, the uncrowned Mr. Olympia from 2007, was expected to reign victorious over top challengers last year in Columbus. The 2008 Arnold Classic was intended to be a small step in his victory march in quest for the Sandow at the 2008 Mr. Olympia contest. Instead, Victor Martinez was sidelined as a result of a torn patellar tendon in the weeks prior to the contest. Victor was forced to withdraw from both the 2008 Arnold Classic and the 2008 Mr. Olympia. He watched Dexter Jackson capture an impressive victory over Phil Heath and Kai Greene at the 2008 Arnold. Dexter Jackson, the new Arnold Classic champion, then went on to win the Mr. Olympia title dethroning Jay Cutler in the process.
Dexter Jackson and Phil Heath, the 2008 Arnold Classic champion and runner-up, have chosen to skip this year's Arnold to focus on the Mr. Olympia. But Victor Martinez' anticipated comeback celebration will be challenged by several top pro bodybuilders including Kai Greene, Toney Freeman, Gustavo Badell, and Branch Warren. The quality of competition at the 2009 Arnold Classic should not disappoint. Most of the top pros did not compete in the Iron Man Pro in Los Angeles, the first contest on the 2009 IFBB schedule. So, this year's Arnold Classic will be a highly anticipated showcase of the progress made by many of the best physiques in competitive bodybuilding during an extended off-season.
1. and 2. Victor Martinez and Kai Green (tie)
Victor Martinez has focused on making his bodybuilding comeback at the 2009 Arnold Classic. Victor was in impressive off-season conditioning during guest posing appearances last years, although he made noticeable efforts to hide the state of his leg development. Questions regarding his 2008 knee injury and the size and symmetry of his legs introduce considerable uncertainty into the contest predictions. Victor Martinez has allegedly made a remarkable recovery after orthopedic surgeon and bodybuilder Victor Plask successfully repaired Victor's damaged knee. We hope to see the Victor Martinez physique of the 2007 Mr. Olympia return to the stage. Video footage of Victor Martinez four weeks out from the Arnold clearly shows that Victor is definitely ready for the Arnold showdown; however, his leg development remains a mystery.
The Victor Martinez of 2007 would still face a serious challenge from a rapidly improving Kai Greene who placed third at last year's Arnold Classic. The competitors who placed ahead of him were the soon-to-be Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson and Phil Heath. Since Dexter and Phil have chosen to skip the Arnold to focus on the 2009 Mr. Olympia, Victor Martinez represents Kai Green's main obstacle in his quest for the Arnold Classic title.
Kai Greene has made unbelievably progress since 2007; he has gained considered size without compromising shape, symmetry or condition. Kai has reported additional increases in size since his last on-stage appearance in the spring of 2008. Kai Greene will be extremely "freaky" if he has packed on another five pounds of quality muscle since his victory at the 2008 New York Pro show. He looks massive and motivated. Kai has dropped his long-time coach Oscar Ardon to work with Charles Glass in Venice. Kai's selection of one of bodybuilding's elite trainer/nutritionist may represent Kai's desire to move into the elite company of pro bodybuilders to have won the prestigious Arnold Classic and/or Mr. Olympia titles.
If Victor is "on", it will be a virtual tie for the top honor at the Arnold. But if Victor is "off", the 2009 Arnold Classic goes to Kai Greene. Either way, the 2009 Arnold Classic champion will be a top challenger for Dexter Jackson and Phil Heath at the 2009 Mr. Olympia.
3 and 4. Toney Freeman and Branch Warren
Toney Freeman and Branch Warren will battle for the third and fourth spots at the 2009 Arnold Classic. Both athletes are top elite bodybuilders but there physique preparation is totally unpredictable at any given contest. Toney Freeman shocked everyone by the poor conditioning at the 2008 Iron Man Pro but amazed everyone by his impressive physique later that year at the 2008 Mr. Olympia. Similarly, Branch Warren looked terrible at 2007 Mr. Olympia but redeemed himself with a remarkable comeback at the 2008 Arnold Classic.
Each of these bodybuilders faces their own unique challenges. Toney is advancing in age while Branch is recovering from a torn tricep last summer.
5. Silvio Samuel
Silvio Samuel will most likely place fifth in this field of bobybuilding competitors. Silvio will undoubtedly look great. He is always predictably in good condition. Unfortunately, there is no suspense or surprise about Silvio when he steps on stage. Silvio Samuel will look exactly like he did at the 2009 Iron Man Pro.
6. Gustavo Badell
Gustavo Badell brings an element of excitement to the Arnold Classic even if it only relates to his latest hairstyle or fashion statement made by the Feakin Rican. Seriously, Gustavo could surprise bodybuilding fans if he returns to his old self. But everything over the past several contests points to opposite.
7. Dennis James
Dennis James experimented with a smaller and tighter look last year experiencing considerable success at the 2008 Tampa Pro and 2008 Europa Pro shows. He has momentum on his side but he is limited by his structure. This prevents him from placing in the top five at a show like the Arnold Classic or Mr. Olympia.
8. Johnnie Jackson
Johnnie Jackson was not in condition at the 2009 Iron Man Pro. But we rarely worry about Johnnie and always expect him to improve. He has a history of jumping in to shows before he is ready. Perhaps this is part of his contest preparation that allows him to step on stage in his best condition at the top pro shows. The six weeks since the 2009 Iron Man Pro will be more than enough time for Johnnie to jump into top condition.
9. Ahmad Haidar
Ahmad Haidar has always had one of the most aesthetically pleasing physiques in professional bodybuilding. He recently moved back to Lebanon after residing in Florida for several years. Ahmad's physique had a great look in spite of the stress of his recent transcontinental relocation. We expect Ahmad to tighten up considerably in the six weeks since he competed in Los Angeles.
10. Moe El Moussawi
If Johnnie Jackson and Ahmad Haidar tighten up their physiques for the Arnold Classic, Moe El Moussawi will place behind them. Moe El Moussawi simply does not have the structure to beat Johnnie of Ahmad.
11. Ronny Rockel
Ronny Rockel is known for his aesthetically pleasing physique. But he will need to improve his conditioning by at least 30% from his Iron Man Pro physique if he wants to have any chance of a top 10 or a top six placing. Impeccable conditioning is especially critical for a smaller competitor. Ronny Rockel has rarely showed up at contests with such conditioning.
12. Marcus Haley
Marcus Haley does not have the best genetics for muscle structure and muscle tie-ins which makes the accomplishments he has made with his physique even more impressive. Marcus was not in his best condition at the 2009 Iron Man Pro. But we expect trainer Tim Gardner to rectify this in time for the Arnold Classic.
13. Sergey Shelestov
Sergei Shelestov has incredible genetics for bodybuilding but has never had great condition or muscle hardness as a competitor on the pro bodybuilding stage. This is contrasted with Marcus Haley who does not have the best genetics but has shown himself capable of delivery good, and even great, condition on stage.