Silvio Samuel and Dennis James at the 2009 New York Pro
By Team FLEX
May 15, 2009
Silvio Samuel and Dennis James are the marquee names at Steve Weinberger's 2009 IFBB New York Pro Championships on Saturday, May 16 at the Tribecca Performing Arts Center, at BMCC in New York. Neither man has won the prestigious title, though James has been as high as second in 2007 and third in 2006, with Samuel notching fifth in 2007.
This year, Samuel is the heavy favorite, having charged through the early 2009 IFBB Pro League season with a victory at the Ironman Pro and fifth place at the Arnold Classic, while James is coming off seventh place at the Arnold. Here the two favorites talk about the show and what it will mean to win big in the Big Apple.
Weight: 225 pounds
Career highlights: 2007 Europa Super Show, 210 and under and overall, winner; 2008 Houston Pro Invitational, winner; 2009 Ironman Pro Championships, winner
"I feed off it. I focus everything I have on each show and going in with all eyes on me is extra motivation. I hate losing so I do everything I can to prevent that feeling. That's why I always show up in shape."
WHY HE'S A THREAT
"The overall physique is what matters. You can't be big without quality and you can't be conditioned without size. You have to have equal parts of everything and that's why I'm confident that I will win. I will be bigger than I was at the Arnold with the same quality and condition. I bring the best of all the parts together and not everyone can say that."
ON THE HATERS
"People talking trash? That doesn't faze me at all. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. The ones that say negative things with no basis are just wasting everybody's time. If you're gonna say something, at least make sense. People criticize me but I use it to my advantage. But the bottom line is that they're not the ones judging my physique. The judges let me know what I need to improve for the next show and that's who I listen to."
"This was my first pro show  so to go in with the momentum I have this year is a great feeling. When I first came here, nobody knew me. I ended up in 14th but that just made me train even harder and focus on my diet. I knew I had to change my approach to compete at this level. If you think you're training hard, you're not training hard enough. You have to always believe that you can give a little bit more to push yourself further. It's what separates the successful guys from the ones that you never hear about."
FOCUS ON ME
"I never take any of my opponents for granted. At this level, we're all capable of winning the whole thing. At the same time, I don't go in thinking about beating so-and-so. Bodybuilding is not like that. I have no control over what anybody else does, so it's pointless thinking about them. All I can do is focus on my training and diet. I'm going in as the favorite because of the improvements I've made and the things I've accomplished. I can tell you that I will not disappoint my fans."
Career highlights: 2001 Grand Prix Hungary, winner; 2003 Mr. Olympia, 4th; 2008 Tampa Bay Pro, 2nd; 2008 Europa Super Show, 2nd
"Everybody keeps saying that I always look my best two-weeks out from the show, so I timed it to peak on May 31, my birthday. So technically, I'm two weeks out from the show even though it's tomorrow. For the past five weeks I've been having my six regular meals a day. I keep protein at 450 grams and carbs at 350 grams. None of this carb loading or depleting crap. That's when things start going wrong. I'm eating as if I have still have two weeks to go before the show and I look like I always look at this stage: ready to rock and roll!"
THE RIGHT FORMULA
"Everybody knows I can be a big dude. Everybody knows I can be in shape. But nobody, not even me, knows how big and hard I can be on the day of the show because that has yet to happen - until now. I can tell you right now that I will be full and dry. This could be the perfect look for my body and shape."
"I'm sick and tired of second place. I've been second so many times it's starting to get on my nerves. It's time to win. This isn't about qualifying for the Olympia, this is about winning a pro show! I have my Grand Prix Hungary win, but I'm after my first pro show on U.S. soil and I'd like to get it here, in New York."