by Christian Duque
It seems everyone is obsessed with the idea that if Big Ramy does in fact win the Arnold that he will undoubtedly reclaim his Olympia title come November 2023. Many of The Egyptian Phenom’s most ardent fans cling to this hope. In their estimation something went wrong the final 48 to the 2022 O and that something won’t repeat itself in Columbus, OH.
Moreover, they’re actually happy for Hadi Choopan because they don’t believe The Persian Wolf could ever have beaten Ramy unless the champ was significantly off. That I’d say is borderline delusional. In 2020, Hadi won the People’s Champion award and a lion’s share of the fans were convinced that he was going all the way. That was the year Phil came back, Brandon looked spectacular and Ramy got the very, very special invite that he really didn’t deserve.
Hadi has never competed by getting a free handout like BR or Derek Lunsford. He rose the ranks of The 212, crossed over, and started battling with “the big guys.” The truth of the matter is that Hadi became just as big as everyone else. He may not be as tall but he packs on tons upon tons of muscle and excellent condition. Even still Ramy fans say that Choopan’s win in 2022 was somewhat of a fluke. Of course these are the same fans that thought Ramy was deserving of his 2021 win where he looked like a pile of crap. Nonetheless Hadi is the champ and that won’t change no matter who wins the Arnold.
Could Ramy win in Columbus? Absolutely. I believe that he’s getting ready just like he was for the Olympa and that’s going to be the smartest move he could make. After all he’s up against Top 6 athletes and 212 Mr. Olympias. He cannot bring even 90% as that could result in horrible placings. If Ramy places anything less than 1st this will be the beginning of the end of his time as a top contender. If Nick places ahead of him it will confirm the 2022 Olympia pecking order.
Ramy cannot be seen as lesser than Walker if he intends to topple Choopan. Public opinion would not be kind to him if that were the hand he was dealt at the second biggest bodybuilding contest in the world. His track record there is one show and that was back in 2020. There he took a distant 3rd to Dexter Jackson who was on the verge of retirement and wanting to prove he was still The Blade! And that he was. Ramy came in with huge size and the half-centenarian reminded him who won the 2008 Mr. Olympia and let him know what time it was. Jackson after all is a 9x Arnold Classic champ and wasn’t about to let Ramy in his contest debut steal the show from him. The Egyptian Phenom was also defeated at that contest by the guy who would end up winning it all, William “The Conqueror” Bonac. If Ramy, now with two Sandows to his credit, goes back to Columbus and can’t get better than 3rd it’ll be catastrophic.
While Ramy will dwarf Clarida, Kamal, and pretty much all the other guys, he will have his work cut out for him in terms of sheer size with Samson Dauda and Nick Walker.
Many commentators have already said that Samson matches Ramy’s size but with better shape and far better condition. Those are not good comparisons from pundits and media outlets for The Egyptian Phenom. Even though Ramy somehow managed to place one spot higher than Dauda at last year’s O that really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when it comes to what people are saying on the message boards, Facebook groups, and various social media platforms. The truth of the matter is those placings could have easily been reversed and many fans would have felt that would have been the more appropriate call.
Although in the past Grand Prix contests after the Olympia usually mirrored the Olympia‘s placings the Arnold is a completely different animal. This is a competition where condition and symmetry are rewarded more favorably than sheer size. And regrettably for The Egyptian phenom he may be doing a contest where his look is not rewarded enough. This is why many of the most respected names in bodybuilding have been left scratching their head as to why he chose to do this particular competition. Was it some attempt at regaining pride, is he hard up for money, or was it just a lack of strategy? To be honest with you it could be a little bit of each.
I think the more reasonable thing to have done would have been to conserve his energy, give his body rest, and make all the necessary adjustments over the year to bring his best package in November to Orlando, Florida. That being said after being knocked out at last year‘s contest I don’t think his camp would have been able to have sat still for the next 11 months without putting something on the board. Will the decision to do the Arnold be the right one? Only time will tell.
But even if he were to prevail in Columbus it would really come down to a question of by how much did he win? If Nick and Sampson were totally off for example and he one that way, it would be a hollow victory. If on the other hand all of those top guys brought their absolute best and he was able to overcome them that would be a far more impressive win. Sadly, however, winning in Columbus is still not going to equate to winning in Las Vegas or Orlando. He will still have won the second most important bodybuilding show and not the first. Again I don’t understand his logic but then again I never really have. After all this is a man who won his first title because of a handout.
I will say that I do like him as a person and I always have. People mistakenly assume that because I am critical of someone that I don’t like them. That is not the case. Also readers should take into account that I am a journalist. A journalist that is not objective is not a good writer. I have to call ‘em like I see ‘em..
I will say that my money is not on Ramy winning. If I am wrong I will gladly eat my words and be one of the first to write an article congratulating him on his big victory. I think it’s a mistake and to be totally honest with you I would not be surprised if at the last minute he doesn’t do the contest. That would definitely be catastrophic for his career but I would not put it completely past him to do. It’s not because he’s not a good bodybuilder but it’s because I believe him doing this competition is a mistake. If he is dealing with any kind of moderate to severe health issue he may not have a choice as to whether he competes or not.
Again I don’t know what is wrong with him, if anything at all, but I do know that after his disastrous placing in Las Vegas the best thing he could’ve done would have been to rest and regroup. Only time will tell if he was right and I was wrong.
What say you?