DENNIS JAMES: Fred has put on a lot of size since he first turned pro in 2010. Doing more shows will help out a lot because he’s not well-known and that can be a disadvantage when you don’t have a physique that packs that “wow” factor. If he’s spot on and some of the other guys are off, he can crack the top six but I can’t see him much higher than that at this point.
CHAD NICHOLLS: Fred’s really improved over the past couple of years, but his conditioning has been off just enough that he’s been left out of the top spots. He needs to push his conditioning to the next level, and once this happens, his physique will “pop” more and he’ll be able to move up a few spots.
DENNIS JAMES: He’s at the point in his career where his structural flaws are becoming more evident. He hasn’t been the same since his injury. The right leg is obviously smaller than the left and that’s a tough thing when you’re known for your legs. At his best, he has that grainy hardness but we haven’t seen that his last few outings. I will be surprised if he’s up there.
CHAD NICHOLLS: Branch always seems to find a way to put things together at the Arnold—no matter what! I’m sure he was very disappointed with his 2013 Mr. Olympia placement, and if I know Branch, this has driven him to work even harder and push the boundaries even further for the Arnold. To do well here, he just needs to get back to the “grainy” look that first won him the Arnold title.
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