Muscle Sport Magazine

2013 Arnold Classic Crystal Ball: Men’s Bodybuilding Predictions

There has been so much banter about who isn’t competing at the 2013 Arnold Classic that it almost seems like an afterthought of the men that will actually be up there on stage in Columbus. Yes, there will be no Kai Greene, Branch Warren, Evan Centopani, Dennis Wolf or Shawn Rhoden getting pumped up in the backstage Brehm Room, but the Veterans Memorial will have its fair share of big names fighting for the top spot.


So without further a-do, here are the 13 names (alphabetically) and their chances of making the posedown and more:


1 – FOUAD ABIAD – With two lackluster appearances (12th in 2011 and 11th in 2012) here to go on, it seems as if Abiad has his work cut out for him. But if the Canadian comes in looking at his best, it isn’t totally out of the question that he can break the top six.


2 – DARREM CHARLES – This will be the 43-year-old’s 10th appearance in Ohio, with 1995 being the first and 2006 being the last. A bit of a surprise entrant, as Charles’s last two competitions were of the Masters variety. Even a top-10 placing would be an accomplishment for someone competing 22 years.


3 – TONEY FREEMAN – The X-Man may be a little long in the tooth (46), but has done well here in seven prior appearances, with his best being third in 2007. Many felt that Freeman could have  – and should have – won the Masters Olympia in December, so a top-three seems to be likely.


4 – MARCUS HALEY – ‘The Comet’ has not had much success at the Arnold (12th in 2007 and 13th in 2009), but can jump up on the scorecards with the lighter line-up. Maybe not top six, but surely one of the next four. He has looked good during his prep.


5 – DEXTER JACKSON – The favorite to win his fourth Arnold and tie Flex Wheeler’s record, Jackson is always in top shape and being 43 doesn’t seem to matter to the ageless ‘Blade.’ This will be his 14th time here and although no one is conceding the trophy yet, Jackson will have to be way off to be topped.


6 – JONNIE JACKSON – At 42, the planet’s strongest bodybuilder may have seen his best days. But a successful campaign in 2012 may just be the indication that Jackson has some more left in the tank. He should be in the top six, even with the criticism of not having a symmetrical physique.


7 – MICHAEL KEFALIANOS – Conditioning has always been a strong point for the Australian resident and even at 42, he can do some damage if he comes in as he should. Bumping someone such as J. Jackson is certainly possible.


8 – CEDRIC McMILLAN – Potential is the key word surrounding the US Army veteran and his v-taper is what helped him win the 2012 New York Pro. Many are predicting that Mac can actually win this show, but it is more likely that he just misses the top three.

9 – ED NUNN – Another competitor on the ‘wrong’ side of 40, Nunn will be making his AC debut. He looked sharp at the Masters a few months ago, but it will be difficult to repeat his fourth place finish here.


10 – BEN PAKULSKI – Big Ben gets the crowd off their feet and did much of that a year ago by placing a strong fourth with a much deeper line-up. His huge lower body has hurt him and if he can come in more aesthetic, Pak-Man may even find himself in the top three.


11 – RONNY ROCKEL – The 5’6” German has competed a lot in the last few years and that may have taken its toll on his diminutive frame. He had a nice run going a few years ago, but has slipped of late. A top-six finish here would be huge for him.


12- FRED SMALLS – In his third year as a pro, Smalls will be making his debut in the industry’s second most prestigious contest and should be able to use the experience to help later I  his career.


13 – HIDETADA YAMAGISHI – It is commendable that Hide didn’t drop out after breaking his wrist recently, but he intends on training through the injury and competing. If he were healthy, something from three-to-six would have been possible, but that will not be the case now.

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  • 1 – Dexter Jackson
  • 2 – Toney Freeman
  • 3 – Ben Pakulski
  • 4 – Cedric McMillan
  • 5 – Jonnie Jackson
  • 6 – Michael Kefalianos
  • 7 – Marcus Haley
  • 8 –  Nunn
  • 9 – Ronny Rockel
  • 10 – Hidetada Yamagishi
  • 11 – Fouad Abiad
  • 12 – Darrem Charles
  • 13 – Fred Smalls

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