FLEXONLINE INTERVIEW: JOHNNIE JACKSON

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February 1, 2008

Johnnie Jackson ended the 2007 IFBB season on a tear. A runner-up finish at the Montreal Pro, combined with the successful defense of his title at the Atlantic City Pro, would have been enough. But add to that the first top-10 finish of his career at the Olympia, and Jackson has reason to be brimming with confidence as 2008 begins. We caught up with Jackson two weeks out from the Ironman Pro for the latest in the Flexonline Interview Series.

FLEXONLINE: WHAT DID CRACKING THE TOP 10 AT LAST YEAR’S OLYMPIA DO FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE?
JOHNNIE JACKSON: It definitely boosted my confidence tremendously to finally crack the top 10 at the Olympia. Even winning that show before the Atlantic City where it was pretty much one of the hardest lineups of 2007. Doesn’t change my goals because my goal is always to win the big shows. And the big shows are the Arnold and the Mr. Olympia. As soon as the Olympia was over I was back to the drawing board, trying to make improvements.

FLEX: YOU TOOK A BREAK FROM COMPETING TO START THE 2007 SEASON. HOW IMPORTANT WAS TAKING THAT TIME OFF?
JJ: Very important because my body needed that rest. I’m all healed up now. By the end of the year last year I was hitting my stride, and the rest played a big part in that. All the little small stuff healed up and let me do what I needed to do to finish the year strong and then start this year strong. Up until I took that time off my body was telling me it wanted to shut down, it was running on steam. I needed to listen to it.

FLEX: WHAT IMPROVEMENTS CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE AT THE IRONMAN?
JJ: I’m pretty happy about where I am right now going into the Ironman. I’m going to be a little bit bigger and fuller and rounder. The the more weight I tend to hold on to the better my muscle bellies look. I have pretty good full round muscle round elles and the extra weight just makes them even rounder and even better. And then to balance my physique, get my legs to match my upper body. It’s just going to be more complete. I want to be more complete and be more pretty – if I can say - than everybody else on stage.

FLEX: ANY IDEA WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO WEIGH AT THE IRONMAN?
JJ: It’s definitely going to be more [than at the 2007 Olympia]. I can’t say at this point how much more because I’m not there yet. We’re still doing stuff and cutting things and bringing out more detail and that’s all I’m focused on at this point. I can see the added weight, but don’t want to chase numbers. I want to chase a look a look. I want to chase a win.

FLEX: WHAT WERE YOU WEIGHING WHEN WE TOOK THOSE FEW SHOTS OF YOU AT GOLD’S VENICE AT JUST UNDER THREE WEEKS OUT?
JJ: I was up around 246, 247, somewhere in there.

FLEX: NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE DEFENDING IRONMAN CHAMP TONEY FREEMAN HEADING INTO THIS CONTEST. IS THAT A MISTAKE?
JJ: Toney’s going to be dangerous especially with the look he brought into the Olympia. And he knew it himself, I had a conversation with Toney about that. I know he’s a thinking bodybuilder so he’s not going to let that happen again, he’s going to come in with one of his best looks ever. I respect that and look forward to the challenge. I can only focus on me and control what I do with myself and that’s just try to come in more complete and in better condition than everybody else.

FLEX: GIVE ME A FINAL POSEDOWN AT THE IRONMAN?
JJ: Myself, Gustavo Badell, the guy who we just got done talking about Toney Freeman, and Phil Heath is doing it of course. I don’t really know who’s all in it. I just heard a few names here and there. And possibly David Henry.

FLEX: LET’S MOVE ON TO THE ARNOLD CLASSIC. HOW GOOD OF A SHOT DO YOU HAVE TO WIN THAT CONTEST?
JJ: Well after I win the Ironman then you definitely can’t not look at me and put me up there to get compared with the front runners like Dexter Jackson, who has won the show a few times before. And the other is Melvin Anthony. There are going to be awesome guys in this lineup but nobody that can’t be beaten. I can stand next to any one of those guys and then go tit-for-tat from there.

FLEX: YOU AND MELVIN HAD WORDS AT THE OLYMPIA PRESS CONFERENCE. ANY LINGERING HARD FEELINGS BETWEEN YOU GUYS?
JJ: Not at all. It was contained there at the press conference and once the press conference was over that was over. That’s all it was. Didn’t go any further than that. We both just moved on to the show and got ready for the next battle.

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