Written by Ron Harris
11 March 2020






Battle of the 4 Kings

History Made at 2020 Arnold Classic With Bonac, Dexter, Cedric, and Victor


By Ron Harris


What Were the Odds?

When the men take the stage at this year’s Arnold Classic, it will be a historic occasion. There have been plenty of times when a former champion has returned seeking another title— witness Dexter Jackson’s four repeats of that feat. We’ve also seen two past winners battling it out in Columbus. But this year things get surreal, as we will have a full four previous champions facing off for the prestigious title. Who are they, and who among them will be the last man onstage being presented the award by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself? Let’s delve into the 4 Kings of the Arnold Classic and how they stack up against each other.


Dexter Jackson

Arnold Classic Champion 2005-6, 2008, 2013, 2015

Height: 5’6”     

Weight: 230

Age: 50

Turned Pro: 1998

Pro Wins: 30


Strong Points

The Blade has a plethora of strong points: excellent structure and shape, close to ideal bone structure and proportions, plenty of mass that’s finely detailed and seasoned, and a confidence onstage that few can match. It’s probably not too hard to feel confident when you’ve won more pro shows than anyone who’s ever lived, and more Arnold Classic titles. Condition is also one of the most powerful weapons in Dexter’s arsenal, and he continues to bring it show after show despite now being a full half-century old. If Dexter is ever “off,” he’s still in better shape than almost anyone else he happens to share the stage with that day.


Weak Points

If you must nitpick, and I do because it’s my job, Dexter at age 50 is not quite as impressive as he was at ages 35-45. One body part that’s lost some thickness and fullness is his chest, particularly in the upper area. His lats are a tad on the high side, and he’s never had the greatest outer quad sweep. I do give him a lot of credit for regaining some of the leg thickness he had lost over the past few years. Though it might have sounded like I just tore Dexter’s physique a new one, rest assured I have always been a fan and still consider him a threat to win any contest he decides to enter.


Chance of Winning This Year

I never count Dexter out. I can’t see him doing any worse than third place no matter how good anyone else looks. As far as his odds of breaking his own record of five Arnold wins in 2020, I’d put them at about 70 percent.


Victor Martinez

Arnold Classic Champion 2007

Height: 5’9”     

Weight: 250

Age: 46

Turned Pro: 2000

Pro Wins: 8


Strong Points

Victor is one of those hybrid bodybuilders who carries serious mass yet still has beautiful shape and aesthetics, reminiscent of men like Flex Wheeler, Kevin Levrone Chris Cormier and Phil Heath. The type of full, round muscle bellies Martinez displays is a rarity. These are most evident in poses like the front and rear double biceps and the side chest and triceps shots. He also managed to compete as heavy as 260 pounds at 5-foot-9 while keeping his midsection small and flat.


Weak Points

Victor knows I love him like a brother, but the fact remains that his physique was deadlier in days gone by. His quads were never the same after he tore his patellar tendon in 2008. Close, but the fullness and sweep never came back 100 percent to where it was. As we spoke about in his cover feature interview in this issue, he has also lost some of the “pop” that he had when he was a little bigger and fuller looking. For being 46 years old and having more years as a pro than any other man competing today other than Dexter, Martinez still looks very respectable. It’s just that if I were writing this 10-12 years ago, I would have struggled to come up with any weak points. Father Time is undefeated, though Victor is still giving him one hell of a fight.


Chance of Winning This Year

It would take a miracle for Victor to beat Bonac, Dexter, Cedric and Ramy to take this title. Though I think if he shows up looking the way he wants to he could shock a lot of us and take out some big names, I rate his chances of winning the whole shebang at about 10 percent.


Cedric McMillan

Arnold Classic Champion 2017

Height: 6’1”     

Weight: 270

Age: 42

Turned Pro: 2009

Pro Wins: 8


Strong Points

In an era where critics often lambaste the top pros as all looking like they rolled off an assembly line, Cedric stands out as being entirely unique. First off, he’s a little over 6-foot-1, and his height draws your attention in the lineup— especially since he stands more than a half a foot taller than Bonac and Dexter. Cedric’s structure is a massive strong point, with his wide clavicles and narrow waist. Cedric’s muscle shape is also a bonus. It’s rare to see a tall man with true balance in all the major muscle groups, but McMillan has that. No weak legs for this guy! His flowing lines and symmetry bring to mind past greats like Arnold and Lee Haney.


Weak Points

Consistency with his condition has dogged Cedric throughout his entire pro career. Often, he has done a series of successive contests and sharpened up more at each one. We’ve seen him miss the mark at the Mr. Olympia yet tighten up considerably to win post-Olympia shows, as he did in 2017 in San Marino, Italy, then again in 2019 in Romania and Hungary. Cedric was in decent shape when he won the Arnold Classic in 2017, but that condition would not beat either Dexter or Bonac if they are in shape. I’m still waiting to see that super crisp condition from Cedric. When he brings that, I’m not sure anyone would be able to handle him.


Chance of Winning This Year

I would give Cedric about a 30 percent chance of winning this contest, only because he needs to get past both Dexter and Bonac to pull it off.


William Bonac

Arnold Classic Champion 2018

Height: 5’6”     

Weight: 225

Age: 37

Turned Pro: 2011

Pro Wins: 8


Strong Points

The Conqueror has the rare type of muscle density only seen on a precious few stars like Kai, Dexter and Phil. There is not one body part that isn’t thick and hewn with granite-hard splits and striations. Thigh sweep might be mostly genetic, but William has quads that flare out like twin zeppelins. His arms, chest and back are all equally impressive. In fact, when Classic Physique star George “Da Bull” Peterson was pressed to name the best back competing today in the open ranks, Bonac was his pick. When it comes to condition, William is always on his game. There was some doubt about him being able to continue getting sliced and diced after he left his longtime coach Neil Hill in 2019, but he shut that down at the Olympia, looking fantastic and walking away with the silver medal.


Weak Points

Bonac’s primary weakness lies in an attribute he has zero control over, which is his bone structure. To the point, he has a short torso, just like Kai Greene. When you have a man of shorter stature and there isn’t a large span between the clavicles and the hips, the waist can appear blocky once you add an extreme amount of muscle mass to that frame. Clearly William’s frame is packed to the brim with round, full muscle. He needs to be very conscious of his midsection and keep it sucked in at all times or else it can easily seem that he has some abdominal distension.


Chance of Winning This Year

Of these four past champions, I feel William has the best chance of winning. He’s beaten all of them consistently every time they’ve faced off since 2016, when Dexter was able to place higher than him at each of the four times they shared a stage. Since then, the only man competing in this year’s Arnold who’s been able to best Bonac was Ramy. Due to William’s recent track record at both the Arnold Classic and the Mr. Olympia, I give him an 80 percent chance of winning this one.


Who Could Beat All 4 men?

There were two men entering this year’s Arnold Classic who I felt stood a solid chance of beating the aforementioned four prior champions and winning: Big Ramy and Roelly Winklaar. Roelly Winklaar dropped out at eight weeks out in order to focus purely on the Mr. Olympia in September. That leaves Mr. Elssbiay. Ramy at his best was second place to Phil Heath back at the 2017 Olympia, and beat Bonac, Dexter, Cedric and Victor in the process. Could he defeat them all again this time? That depends on what Ramy looks like. If he tries to come in big and full as he’s been known to do on many previous occasions, his chances are not good. If instead he focuses on condition and comes in slightly smaller and particularly if he has downsized those outrageous quadriceps somewhat, he could very well emerge victorious. Let’s see which Ramy shows up!


Ron Harris got his start in the bodybuilding industry during the eight years he worked in Los Angeles as Associate Producer for ESPN’s “American Muscle Magazine” show in the 1990s. Since 1992 he has published nearly 5,000 articles in bodybuilding and fitness magazines, making him the most prolific bodybuilding writer ever. Ron has been training since the age of 14 and competing as a bodybuilder since 1989. He lives with his wife and two children in the Boston area. Facebook Instagram





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