Reported February 17, 2003
Cutler Muscles His Way to IRONMAN Pro Crown
Jay Cutler rode his thick, 5’9", 267-pound frame to a unanimous victory at the IRONMAN Pro Invitational, held Saturday, February 15, at the Marsee Auditorium on the campus of El Camino Community College.
The expected battle between Cutler and four-time IM Pro champion Chris Cormier never materialized as Cormier, who told several media sources he was definitely doing the contest (including me), showed up in civilian clothes and watched the event from the seats.
The biggest competition of the night took place in the battle for second behind Cutler, where five-time winner Flex Wheeler and Melvin Anthony battled all through the judging and finals. Wheeler jumped out to a seven point lead after round one (symmetry), but Anthony cut the margin to two points after round two (muscularity).
At the finals, Anthony, noted as one of the sport’s premier entertainers, bested Wheeler in the posing round by three points to take a one point lead going into round four, the posedown. When Anthony edged Wheeler by a single digit in the latter competition, he was able to hold off Flex and land in second behind Cutler, two points ahead of the third place Wheeler.
Troy Alves, making his pro debut after winning the Heavyweight class at the ’02 USA, was the surprise of the event, and earned the first call out of the judging, joining Cutler and Wheeler on center stage. The Phoenix, Arizona resident, carrying 220 pounds on his 5’8" frame, eventually landed in fourth, edging out veteran Darrem Charles by three points.
Quincy Taylor, the largest man in the field at 6’4" and 304 pounds, was flat and holding water at the judging, so his title hopes were dashed. But, Taylor looked much better at the evening show and still gives promise of great things to come in future events despite his sixth place designation. Ahmad Haidar, who placed fourth last year, finished two points behind Taylor and placed seventh, while 42-year-old Aaron Baker, making his comeback after giving pro wrestling a go in recent years, looked good and was award eighth place.
Johnnie O. Jackson, the ’01 Nationals Overall winner, finished ninth, ahead of England’s J.D., Dawadu. Southern California resident Tevita Aholelei, making his initial IRONMAN Pro debut, just missed making the top 10, finished 11th behind Dawadu.
In addition to the $10,000 Cutler earned by winning the show, he also picked up another $1,000 and a beautiful trophy when he was honored with The Most Muscular title, donated by Robby Robinson.
Wayne Gallasch, Leo Stern and Bill Pearl were the recipients of awards for Cinematography, Photography and Lifetime Achievement, respectively.
In the first ever NPC Figure competition, Hannah Park, a nursing student from Union City, CA, won the Short class and the Overall. Selma McPherson of Sherman Oaks, CA, took the Medium division, while Shannon Nuessle, from Glendale, Arizona, won the Tall class. All three earned photo shoots with IRONMAN’s Michael Neveux for their victories.
For a more in-depth report on the IRONMAN Pro, read the May ’03 issue of IRONMAN.