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Muscle Sport Magazine

2012 Arnold Classic Preview – Wide Open Contest in Men’s Bodybuilding

Better late than never, right? We’re still not finished packing for the trip to Ohio to cover the 2012 Arnold Classic and will be rushing to the airport, so it seems like a perfect time to do our preview piece. If there ever was a wide open show that will be a tough one to call, it’s this one.

BRANCH WARREN

Last year’s winner has been on the shelf recovering from a quad injury and subsequent surgery, so it will be interesting to see if he has lost anything with the long layoff. The texan brings sheer mass to the stage and should be impressive, as usual, and will collect another Most Muscular Award even if he doesn’t place at the top.

DENNIS WOLF

Big Bad Wolf was satisfied with his runner-up finish in 2011, but he certainly will come into Columbus looking to better that by one. He has been a major contender since shaking off his disappointing 2009 Olympia and will be a top three here.

EVAN CENTOPANI

With a fourth place finish in his rookie AC, Centopani did more than get his feet wet. He hasn’t competed since then and that has been his M.O. – a few select shows and an impressive showing in each. Does he have enough to grab a win here or does he need to earn his stripes still?

DEXTER JACKSON

The Blade won his last show at the Legends back in December and is a sure bet to be in top condition again this weekend. Being 40-something and having to prep for so many shows over the years may start to take its toll on Jackson, but he should have more than enough to make the pose down.

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LIONEL BEYEKE

By winning the FLEX Pro just two short weeks ago, the Frenchman showed that he is more than just a big guy with a lot of potential. If he can sharpen up his conditioning, then joining some of those veterans in the top six is certainly a possibility.

BEN PAKULSKI

Pak-Man placed 10th at the 2011 Arnold and took second at the recent FLEX Pro, so this guy is on the verge of doing some big things in the sport. He said that he was not happy with a top-ten and is shooting for a top-five. That may be a tough task, but Pakulski is a fiery guy that puts everything into his prep and presentation.

FOUAD ABIAD

He placed third at the FLEX Pro – as he did last year – and hopes to do better than his 2011 12th place finish. Abiad carries his mass well but this is a deep line-up that he may find difficult to crack into the top six.

SHAWN RHODEN

‘Flexatron’ placed fourth at the FLEX Pro and should bring a better overall conditioned physique to the stage with the extra two weeks to tighten up. He is still getting used to the terrain and placing 11th at last year’s Olympia will be a huge help to him at this show. The butterflies and apprehension of being on the big stage shouldn’t be present and Rhoden will be all business. A top six is possible, but somewhere ion the seven-through-10 range is more probable.

EDUARDO CORREA

Correa came into Santa Monica on February 18 the top conditioned athlete on stage, and that may be difficult to get back to again. He jumped up from the 202 class and was able to hold his own against the bigger competition, but there wasn’t any Warrens or Wolfs at the FLEX Pro. He is in a similar position as Rhoden.

BRANDON CURRY

With an impressive Mr. Olympia finish for ‘The Prodigy’ (eighth place), this can be a springboard show for him if he can place in the top six.

GUSTAVO BADELL

Can he make a successful comeback? We say yes.

PREDICTION – Of course this means nothing until we get to see the prejudging, and we will have an updated article once that is completed

1 – Evan Centopani

2 – Branch Warren

3 – Dennis Wolf

4 – Dexter Jackson

5 – Lionel Beyeke

6 – Brandon Curry

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