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The 2003 Ironman Pro DVD - Report and DVD Review Bodybuilding Video & DVD Reviews The 2003 Ironman Pro DVD - Report and DVD Review

2003 IronMan Pro Invitational (DVD) Carrying 267 pounds of lean beef on his 59 frame, JAY CUTLER - the Ultimate Beef - stormed to victory with a perfect score in every round. A shredded MELVIN ANTHONY edged out FLEX WHEELER with new pro TROY ALVES making a sensational debut. BUY IT NOW 2003 IronMan Pro Invitational (DVD)




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2003 IFBB
Pro Invitational

Prejudging and SHow

Marsee Auditorium
El Camino Community College

February 15, 2003
Los Angelos, CA, USA

The DVD started off with the lineup out on the stage. There was a lot of variability in muscle quality, ranging from world class to less than amateur quality (Jocelyn Pelletier from Canada). Maybe this guy just likes being up on stage, but I do believe it is an insult to the paying fans and the hungry amateurs that he is on the stage. Granted, he did earn his pro card the old fashioned way - but WAY back in the day. Maybe the IFBB should have a rule where you need to show up to a contest in shape in order to compete.

The lineup started off with the standard quarter turns. Jocelyn was lined up next to Quincy Taylor. LOL!!! This was quite a sight - here was the smallest guy in the worst shape on the stage next to a guy who is 6'4 and 285 pounds shredded. It was ridiculous to see them side by side. Since the Ironman is an open show and under IFBB regulations must allow any pros to compete, maybe the promoters decided to put Jocelyn and Quincy side by side in order to highlight this differential in physique quality (and frankly, to embarass Jocelyn). Not to be too hard on 'ole Jocelyn, he was quite amazing back in his day.

The next bunch of competitors lined up and were announced one at a time. 42 year old Aaron Baker was on the stage and looking fantastic! He looked younger than he was both in the face and in the body. Not to mention he had the vibrance of a man much younger. Maybe steroids indeed are the fountain of youth. Granted, I should point out it is sheer speculation that Aaron does steroids - just an educated case of mine. For all I know, he may just be using regular creatine.

Jay Cutler was side by side with Troy Alves and it was then that I noted his flaw. Granted, his waist and hip structure is somewhat large, but the main flaw is simply that he has overwhelmed his frame with too much muscle. At 5'9, 267 pounds of shredded muscle will not look all that aesthetic no matter how well you hold it. I wish the ironage school of bodybuilding would acknowledge that a major flaw in bodybuilding today is simply the overwhelming muscle mass, and not so much lack of lines. Jay DOES have lines, but it's hard to look "pretty" when your muscularity is so enormous.

The initial callouts consisted of Jay Cutler, Melvin Anthony, Troy Alves, Flex Wheeler, and others. The 6'4 Quincy Taylor was in line next to the 5'6 Ahmad Haidar. They both looked incredible, but I could only imagine how much more imposing Quincy would be in person.

When Johnnie O. Jackson was called out, his dense muscularity was sickening. Darrem Charles was in his usual peak condition and Quincy Taylor was so tall and huge that he caught the eye instantly. He was completely towering over these bodybuilders like no other bodybuilder ever has - other than Lou Ferrigno and Ralf Moller, who were 6'5 and 6'7 respectively.

As mentioned before, the physique quality varied quite considerably in this contest. Tommi Thorvildsen was similar to Jay Cutler in that he was (and usually is), cut but "soft". His muscularity wasn't as dense and grainy as those like Johnnie O. Jackson, Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates, Rich Gaspari, and others known for their hardness. The thing about Jay Cutler is that for all the muscle he has, he is as strong as he looks. What I find about those who are hard as nails is that they are much stronger than they look. Bertil Fox for example was hard as a rock and a lot stronger than he looked (even though he did look incredibly strong). Tommi though, IS very strong, and much stronger than he looks. So my question would be: why doesn't he have the hardness you would expect that would come with that mighty strength? I guess the other factors at play are genetics, steroids, and proper nutrition. Everybody responds differently.

Back to the show, Troy Alves, Darrem Charles, and Melvin Anthony lined up for some quarter turns and how had classic physiques. If these are the kinds of physiques you appreciate in bodybuilding - reminiscent of 1980s bodybuilding, then this DVD is definitely for you. These guys looked fantastic. Next up, Flex Wheeler traded places with Darrem to pose with Troy and Melvin. Flex is 5'10 and 1/4 and Troy and Melvin are both 5'8. This made Flex appear slightly more lanky than the others and also more classical looking in appearance - although they all have classic physiques, and I do find that 5'8 to 6'0 is basically the perfect height to accentuate those qualities.

Next for some more callouts, Jay Cutler posed with Flex Wheeler and Melvin Anthony. Jay was in the middle and it was sort of organized by height, with Flex on the left and Melvin on the right. They were 5'10, 5'9, and 5'8, respectively. They all looked fantastic and had really nailed it in terms of overall conditioning. They all had different strengths and weaknesses, with the only common property that they came in to this show in condition. Jay's back dwarfed the others in terms of size and thickness in both the rear double biceps and rear lat spread. All three had very detailed backs though. Jay's triceps looked incredible in the side triceps - he has some huge guns and some massively thick triceps. Jay's thighs were also thick and shredded - cross striated and filled with separation - some of the freakiest in the world today.

Troy came to take Jay's place in the lineup and immediately I suspected that it would be Jay Cutler in first place and Troy, Flex, and Melvin would be fighting for the top spots following to fill out the top three - all three top spots would get an invitation to the 2003 Mr. Olympia that year. On that note, the 2003 Mr. Olympia was Ronnie Coleman's most dominating performance ever in my opinion! And Flex Wheeler agrees.

It was clear at this point in the show that Jay dominated the competition in terms of size and thickness and that he was sufficiently shredded and shapely to win the whole show. Granted, he didn't have the most aesthetic in the lineup, as there were several guys who I would say did, but these days contests are judged based on who comes in the biggest and in the best condition, whilst preserving as much shape and symmetry as possible. Back in the day, it was judged primarily based on genetic structure, with conditioning and posing a high priority, and size only secondary to these factors. If you do not approve of how the NPC and IFBB judges their contests, I would advise you all to contact them and explain this. It is only through the voice of the fans that any change can be activated in this organization. Granted, I am extremely entertained by the new crop of freaks, but I would never want to look like them and I couldn't imagine it being healthy. On this note, this was Flex Wheeler's last contest, due to his kidney problems which he claims were genetic, but which I believe were aggravated by the nature of the competitive bodybuilding lifestyle. Sometimes, how desperately you want to win is only mediated by how wreckless you want to be. Sad but true.

More callouts were taking place, and dense and shredded muscle were all over the map. Speaking of maps, you could run motocross races on the backs of a lot of these guys because their condition was so ridiculous. The pros continued through their mandatory poses and were looking great. While there was natural variability among the competitors, they all came into the show in good condition. Amazing how well they performed given that they were competing for peanuts (a paltry $20,000 total prize money). I do believe that that the Ironman prize money is a joke, but if athletes continue to enter the show in great condition and put on great entertainment for the fans, what incentive do the promoters have in increasing prize money? This is simple economics 101 and something that Shawn Ray does not understand - the promoters are not obligated to provide any extra money to the competitors in addition to the money that market conditions allow for. If the pros have a problem with this they should STOP COMPETING. I would not be competing in this contest or in any of the dinky grand prix events for that matter - not with the prize money that they have. Unless of course I was like Ronnie Coleman or Jay Cutler and basically assured a win. But the bodybuilders continue to compete so they have no one but themselves to blame when the prize money doesn't get increased. Nobody is forcing them up on stage with a cattleprod. It would be nice if they got more money, but the promoters are thinking about their bottomline and as such, have no reason to change their business model. This is basic economics 101 as I mentioned earlier.

Flex Wheeler

Flex posed to "The Only One For Me" by Brian McKnight. As always, his posing was slow and graceful, highlighting the type of physique that he possessed (shapely and aesthetic). This was quite a good performance in that it was his last one). He looked very good. The separation in his thighs and conditioning in his back was excellent. His back double biceps pose was a winner as always. He did the splits at the end of his routine.

J.D. Dawodu

J.D. is somebody I haven't heard about much lately (as of February 2006). He looked incredible and was very thick. J.D. posed to "Faboulous" by Jaheim. He looked like a truck and was dense and hard too. His music quickly changed to "Bang Bang" by Dr. Dre. This guy would be quite a sight to see in person - he was built like a brickhouse. His music changed again and it was clear he put some time planning out this posing routine. He did an excellent job with it. His final posing song was "Good Times (I Get High)" by Styles P.

Jocelyn Pelletier

Jocelyn posed to "Fuck You Like An Animal" by Nine Inch Nails. Jocelyn wasn't very good. The end.

Quincy Taylor

Quincy posed to "My Love is Your Love" by Whitney Houston. This man was 6'4 and in good condition in good size. Not much else matters if you're looking to be entertained by a freak - he looked incredible. His chest is somewhat "bottom heavy" and the main criticism he gets is that he still needs more mass on his enormous frame. He is big. "Large and in charge" as Lonnie Teper said.

Tommi Thorvildsen

Tommi posed to "Hunting High And Low" by A-Ha. He didn't appear to be as shredded as he could have been or maybe it was just a tan that he was lacking. His overall hardness didn't appear as good as it could have been. Tommi has been criticized for his structure. He does look good but lags in the chest and arms. If he brought up this areas as well as focussed on overall size and conditioning I think he would do better. Granted, these are a lot of improvements he would need to make, but that is the nature of competitive bodybuilding. Tommi did a backflip while posing to "Lose Yourself" by Eminem! Who says these big guys are muscle bound?

Johnnie O. Jackson

Next, Johnnie O. Jackson posed to "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera. Johnnie's calves are a notable weak point, but otherwise he looks good. He is as hard as a rock and in great condition. His back is thick and just plain out of sight. He looks as strong as he is. Very impressive. Next Johnnie briefly posed to Tupac Shakur before ending his routine.

John Hodgson

John had some quality muscularity, especially for a guy I hadn't really hard about before. He looked awesome. He posed to a powerful Opera like song, much like the kinds that Ronnie Coleman uses during his Olympia routines (such as the 2004 Mr. Olympia). He had good overall balanced and my only advise for him would just be to continue to do what he has been doing. He had some good diamond cuts on his calves.

Jay Cutler

Jay had a well put together posing routine. He seemed to be the clear winner the moment he stepped on stage. He had the same conditioning as he did at the 2001 Mr. Olympia Contest, but was bigger than he had been at that show. He posed to "Time to Say Goodbye" by Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli. I'm not sure if Jay has the lines necessary to pose to these slow operatic songs, but he did it pretty well, and that particular song does have some strong points for Jay to exploit his size. He was incredibly muscular and had excellent balance given his size. In the end, he posed to just that - "In the End", by Linkin Park, speeding things up a little bit. He also had the voice of Arnold saying "That's what I call posing" in Pumping Iron. Lonnie Teper jokingly said that Jay needs to work the thighs a little bit.

Troy Alves

Troy had your typical physique straight out of the seventies or eighties. You have to wonder how he would have performed if he was up against those guys in those days. Of course we would need to find a time machine to find out. He looked excellent in his twisting back poses.

Melvin Anthony

Melvin is without question one of the best posers in the IFBB today and he showed that again during this contest. He posed to the song "Dontchange" by Musiq Soulchild. His 27 inch waist was displayed to his advantage throughout the contest! He looked amazing. This was exactly the type of posing song he needed to use to his advantage. His thighs were deeply striated just like Arnold's were back in the day. He sped up his posing a little and went to his usual robotic/dancing posing routine. He really has the moves, lol. His gravity defying moves were highlighted on the stage. One day I swear he's going to fall over with this routine, lol.

Eddie Abbew

Eddie was another thick and dense bodybuilder. He had pretty good lines and overall balance.

Tevito Alelehei

He posed to "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera. He had great overall balance and a superb tan. His conditioning and midsection were both very balanced and he looked very good.

Christian Lobarede

Christian has a somewhat awkward physique. His waist is wide and square and his lats don't start until closer to his armpits. This is just genetic so there's not much he can do about it. He posed to "No More Drama" by Mary J. Blige. He looked pretty wideset in the most muscular poses.

Ahmad Haidar

Ahmad posed to "I'm Alive" by Celine Dion. He had your typical classic physique. Great balance with no major strengths or weaknesses. Great abs and midsection! Somewhat smallish on the arms and delts, but he did look good. He looked more moderate than some of the bigger guys. Ahmad was a good poser to boot. A worthy competitors in the greatest bodybuilding shows on earth. As Shawn Ray said, he makes you say "I wish I had abs like that - I wish I had balance like that." One of Ahmad's early inspirations was Samir Bannout. Lebanon is relatively small and to have a Mr. Olympia winner come from the place you grew up would definitely be motivating.

Darrem Charles

Typical Darrem. Excellent poser and fantastic overall conditioning. Darrem has good balance but I feel he is an example of where some people who are ignorant to bodybuilding criteria will equate "small" to meaning "symmetrical" or "balanced". Darrem looks good because he isn't overly muscled to the point where it looks disgusting. This does NOT mean he looks great in the mandatory poses or has wonderful Lee Haney proportions. I would go so far as to say that Ronnie Coleman, even at 300 pounds and shredded, has a superior shape to Darrem. Darrem only looks better to most people because he is not a freak. He has a body for everyday life.

Aaron Baker

42 years young! This was his last professional contst, and he looked great. Aaron is 45 right now and will be 46 in the fall (2006). Very impressive! He came in huge and shredded. He was one of the most underrated pros of his day. His arms were fantastically large. His waist was small and his legs were separated and feathered. He looked great, no question about that. His back double biceps pose was out of sight, his glutes were hard and his posing was full of energy. Looks like yet another pro who found the fountain of youth. Aaron posed to "Baby Love" by Mother's Finest.

The Ironman Cinematography Award to
Wayne R. Gallasch
GMV Productions

John Balik from Ironman Magazine then presented a well deserved award in cinematography to Wayne Gallasch of GMV Productions. John made the great point that Wayne had the foresight to know that the history of bodybuilding on video would have great value in the future. He was definitely right, and while the audience for these videos have been small throughout the years, they are definitely taking off right now. Wayne will soon be reaping the rewards of all that hard work in creating his enormous archive of bodybuilding history.

The top 6-10 places were then announced:

10 - J.D. Dawodu, England
9 - Johnnie O. Jackson, USA
8 - Aaron Baker, USA
7 - Ahmad Haidar, Lebanon
6 - Quincy Taylor, USA

For the top five, comparisons between the competitors were made. They hit the following comparisons:

  • Front Double Biceps.
  • Front Lat Spread.
  • Side Chest.
  • Back Double Biceps.
  • Back Lat Spread.
  • Side Triceps.
  • Abdominals and Thigh.

Amazingly, Melvin Anthony made Flex look like he had a large waist! Jay's abs and thigh pose was still the most ridiculous of them all - maybe not the most aesthetically pleasing around, but his abs were so deep cut and shredded. His thighs were separated and feathered and absolutely huge. Dwarfing the thighs of the competitors.

Some awards were presented next:

The Art Zeller Bodybuilding Photography Award to Leo Stern Presented to David Stern

The Lifetime Achievement Award to Bill Pearl

After these awards were presented, they top five posed down to "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa. There was a lot of quality muscle at this lineup, and as I've said to Shawn Ray more than once, as long as pros are willing to get up on stage and compete for peanuts, they WILL BE PAID PEANUTS. That is simple Economics 101. It's called the free market, and if pros refuse to exercise their market power by boycotting this show, the promoters will have absolutely 0 incentive to increase the prize money. Simple solution to increasing the Ironman purse: STOP COMPETING IN IT. It really is that simple. I sure as hell would not be competing for a $20,000 (which only this year in 2006 went up to $30,000).

The Most Muscular Award was presented by UHB as well as an award for $1,000 along with it.

The top five were then announced:

5 - Darrem Charles, USA
4 - Troy Alves, USA
3 - Flex Wheeler, USA
2 - Melvin Anthony, USA
1 - Jay Cutler, USA
2003 IFBB Ironman Pro Invitational Winner

Overall Review:

This was another good production from GMV, and another high caliber second tier show - perhaps TOO high caliber. When I hear bodybuilders bitching about increases in prize money, yet see them competing in this dinky shows with no money, I have to think some of them are just meatheads. Of course, it's not always the same bodybuilders complaining. Someone like Shawn Ray will do all the complaining and others like Troy Alves will compete. Maybe Shawn should consider that Troy is probably competing because he WANTS to, and couldn't care less about the prize money. Or maybe he has a problem with the prize money - in which case he has no right to complain about it because he does have the right to choose not to compete after all. In any case, I don't have much sympathy for the low prize money. I would personally not compete in this show, or any show paying this little, unless I was sure to win, or at least make back the money it costs in food, supplements, and the mass quantities of steroids, GH, insulin, diuretics, etc, etc, that is required to be competitive in the pro ranks today. The purse has increased to $30,000 as of this year (2006), and hopefully it goes up in the future, but only time will tell. As you can see from the pictures posted, this is a good contest to check out if you like seeing bodybuilding action.

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2003 IFBB Pro Ironman (DVD) 2003 Iron Man Pro (DVD)
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Matt Canning

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