Dexter Jackson wins his third Arnold Classic

March 1, 2008


On a night when all past Arnold Classic champions were honored, it only seemed fitting that one of the men from the past would seize the moment in the present. In perhaps his best-ever form, Dexter Jackson held off a hard-charging Phil Heath to win his third Arnold Classic on Saturday at Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in Columbus, Ohio.

In the process, Jackson became the third competitor to win three titles in the 20-year history of the event, joining four-time champion Flex Wheeler and three-time champion Jay Cutler. "This is a dream come true," Jackson said.

Heath, for his part, was much improved from a year ago when, after winning the first two professional contests of his career, he came into the 2007 Arnold riding a wave of pre-contest hype and a boatload of questions concerning just how good he actually was. After a relatively disappointing fifth-place finish last year, he took the year off with an eye on adding some much-needed size for his return to Columbus. Mission accomplished, as Heath took the stage at 235 pounds - 18 more than his weight a year ago - and more than held his own against Jackson for most of the prejudging. In the end though, the best version of Jackson was too much not just for Heath, but everyone else in the ultra-competitive lineup.

Kai Greene, perhaps the most improved athlete on the circuit last year, made his Arnold debut a successful one by placing third. Greene displayed a good combination of size and conditioning, although it could be argued that fourth-place finisher Branch Warren out-did him in both departments. Warren, the clear-cut crowd favorite regained the form that saw him place second at the Arnold in 2006 and showed up in excellent condition.

Silvio Samuel moved up one spot from last year, placing fifth. Samuel, who was slightly off at the Ironman Pro two weeks ago compared to his customary razor-sharp condition, edged past sixth-place finisher Gustavo Badell by a single point.

1. Dexter Jackson
2. Phil Heath
3. Kai Greene
4. Branch Warren
5. Silvio Samuel
6. Gustavo Badell
7. Toney Freeman
8. Melvin Anthony
9. Johnnie Jackson
10. Desmond Miller
11. Moe Elmoussawi
12. David Henry
13. Ronny Rockel
14. DeShaun Grimez
15. Adorthus Cherry