Who Will Claim the 2013 Arnold Classic Title?

Team AMI/Weider experts Dennis James, Chad Nicholls, and Fakhri Mubarak give us their take on whom to watch and who might surprise us all before the night is over at the 2013 Arnold Classic.
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Johnnie Jackson

ARNOLD CLASSIC HISTORY 2006, 13th; 2008, 9th; 2009, 9th; 2010, 12th; 2011, 7th

JAMES: Johnnie had a phenomenal 2012. He did seven shows and looked great at every one of them. He will surprise people here. He has all the tools when he comes in shape. I don’t think there’s a better upper body out there. That’s a Mr. Olympia upper body. The round muscle bellies, the sheer thickness, and all the details. His legs are a little bit behind, but he’s always working on adding a little more sweep. Johnnie doesn’t need to concern himself with coming in heavy because he’s got such dense muscle that he looks twice as heavy as he really is. He can be lighter than the other guys and still outsize them. The first thing you see when somebody comes out is the shoulder width and the midsection, and Johnnie has both of those qualities. He’s gonna be dangerous.

MUBARAK: Johnny had a very good 2012. He shocked a lot of people. Johnny is a tank and when he’s conditioned, he looks like a cartoon. He’s not too tall but the amount of muscle he holds is ridiculous. If you had to find a fl aw in him it would be that his upper body carries more mass than his lower body. When he’s peeled, it doesn’t matter that much.

NICHOLLS: It’s a tough call, but I’m going with Johnnie Jackson, Toney Freeman, and Ed Nunn for my second group to round out the top six. All three athletes are structurally good. Ed and Toney are both big, taller guys who carry the “wow” factor when they first step onstage, but Johnnie exhibits a tremendous amount of mature thickness and he’s found an in between point of fullness combined with conditioning without going too much to one side or the other. This combination has paid off in his placements and could definitely put him into the top spots.

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