Chamberlain ready to take on New York
by Allan Donnelly
May 8, 2008
They say a good big guy always beats a good little guy. Nobody knows that better than Brian Chamberlain. Since turning pro in 2003 by winning the light heavyweight and overall titles at the NPC North American Championships, Chamberlain has finished in the top 10 of each of his five professional contests, including an eighth-place finish at last year's New York Pro. However, when the top five is announced, the 5-foot-3 Chamberlain consistently finds himself on the outside looking in. With the advent of the 202-pound class at this year's New York Pro Bodybuilding Championships, which will be held on Saturday at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Chamberlain is hoping the latter streak comes to an end.
But Chamberlain, who plans on stepping onstage weighing between 195 and 198 pounds, will first have to deal with a deep and competitive lineup in the 202-pound class, including pre-contest favorite David Henry. Chamberlain gave Henry all he could handle at the Olympia Wildcard Showdown in 2005 before eventually falling short, and is hoping for a different outcome in their next matchup this weekend.
Chamberlain sat down with FLEXONLINE a few days before the New York Pro and gave his thoughts on both the 202-pound class and the open show.
FLEX: What does the 202-pound class do for you in terms of giving you something to shoot for?
BC: In the open class I was always just right outside of the top five, I was in the top five only once in the past few years. I think it definitely gives me an edge. The bigger guys, even though pound for pound we may be about the same size or I may even be a little bit thicker, when they're 5-8 or 5-10 it's a little more impressive. But I think the 202-pound class gives me a level playing field.
FLEX: Looking at this 202-pound class, which of the guys jumps out at you as entering this show as the favorite?
BC: I know there are a lot of people talking about Charles Dixon, but after looking at pictures I'd honestly have to say I'm not as worried about him. The pictures I saw, he was pretty soft from the back. The first name that would jump into my head is David Henry. Seeing as though he had a reputation - had as in past tense - of always being in good shape. This year he's kind of missed the mark. But that's not to say that he won't come in shredded. Charles Dixon is coming off a high at the  Nationals but he still hasn't competed in the IFBB, so he still has some bumps and bruises to take along the way. Whereas David Henry is a pro. So I would venture to say David Henry is going to be more of a battle than Charles Dixon.
FLEX: Make a case for why Brian Chamberlain beats David Henry and wins the 202-pound class.
BC: I'm a few inches shorter but I compete just as heavy so I think I'm going to appear thicker. I'm pretty hungry. I paid my dues and I haven't gotten any reward yet. I would say the lion climbing the mountain is a little hungrier than the one on top.
FLEX: Let's say you win the 202 class. Does that put you in position to crack the top three or top five of the main show and earn an Olympia qualification?
BC: I think it should definitely play a part. New York this year, the lineup isn't quite what it was in previous years. With that being said, there is room for a lot of the newer guys to advance and get into that top five spot. I've made first callouts at almost every show I've competed at except for the  Keystone, but I never got placed [in the top five]. Hopefully the added advantage of being seen at the 202 class will keep me in the minds of the judges, so when the top five in the open class are being pulled out they will give me a second look and maybe I can pop in there.
FLEX: You're not going to have a whole lot of time to recover between the 202-pound show and the main show on Saturday. Could that potentially hurt you if your number gets called often in both?
BC: No, I think it only stand to gain by being seen more and being kept out in the callouts more. That can only help in my mind.
FLEX: Give me a prediction on who will be fighting for that top spot in the 202-pound class. BC: Jason Arntz is another guy who won his class at the Nationals just like Charles Dixon has. Bodybuilding is a funny game, anybody comes in and is on their mark - it doesn't matter who they are or where they came from. If they're better they're better. So my prediction for top three would be myself, David Henry and probably Jason Arntz.