‘O’ MAN!

Ronnie is bigger than ever. But is it enough?

The first two rounds of the 2004 Mr. Olympia competition are in the books and Ronnie Coleman is nothing less than scary big. Fitting, this Halloween weekend.

Big Ron promised for the past 12 months to come in to this show bigger than ever, and he didn't disappoint. With estimates having him near 300 pounds he was a sight to behold. When in repose, muscle just hung from his frame like toilet paper from trees on Halloween night. Of course when he flexed they jumped to attention like a children watching a late night horror flick.

But it bigger necessarily better? While his limbs were shredded and his glutes displayed their trademark ridges, Big Ron's torso was somewhat watery, most notably his midsection. And as the prejudging wore on the film of water became more noticeable. Will this watery obfuscation make an impact on the judges? Will the condition worsen or improve by the evening show?

Jay Cutler hit the stage at a dry 270. If he didn't have quite the level of conditioning he displayed in 2001, he made up for it in newfound size. In fact, he very nearly equalled Big Ron in the size department and showed quad separation that Ronnie can't match. Coupled with a tight and defined midsection, Jay compares quite favorably with the 6-time champ from the front. Of course Ronnie from the rear is another story. Bumps and lines and curves of all manner streak across his back. But even there Jay has managed to make up what was once a size disadvatage.

Dexter Jackson really earned his moniker, "The Blade" today. He may be in the condition of his lifetime. His V-taper from the back is the best in the business. He is crisp and has clean lines. His only flaws are well-known by now: The appearance of somewhat high lats from the front, smallish calves and slight distention of his midsection. Yet these are minor criticisms of an outstanding physique.

Gustavo Badell is having the show of his life so far. Amazing shape and proportions, freaky hams, thick arms and chest, wide clavicles and beautiful coloring added up to a final callout with Ronnie, Jay and Dexter.

Victor Martinez looks about as he did at the GNC Show of Strength three weeks ago; nice lines, good size, a great back, but maybe a week out from the kind of conditioning he achieved at the 2003 NOC.

Dennis James is big as a house up top, but could use a little more size in the legs. He, too, is holding some water.

Darrem Charles is the most shredded man in the show- no surprise there- but looks like he might be out of the top six in the end.

The way it looks right now, according to the callouts in both rounds, the top three at the moment should be Ronnie, Jay and Dexter, with Dexter looking more likely in third than the other two. The next three could include Gustavo, Victor or Dennis. Cormier, Ruhl, Schlierkamp are probably on the cusp of the top six group at the moment.

Tonight's showdown promises to be one for the ages folks. If you haven't yet ordered the Pay-Per-View, get it now. Otherwise, check back here immediately following the evening show for up to the minute reporting and hundreds of photos.

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