Went down to Gold’s Venice on Saturday to shoot a preview of the NPC Men’s Nationals with Shawn Ray. Jordan Blechman, son of MD Publisher Steve Blechman, who traded coasts a couple of months ago, swapping Long Island, New York for Venice, California, was behind the video camera. He also was kind enough to film a second tape, allowing yours truly to talk up the IRON MAN Magazine Naturally, set for January 29, 2011 and the West Coast Classic, on June 25.
Jordan, 27, seems like a nice chap. He was excited about finding an apartment but a block away from the Mecca after a six-week search. I was excited that he joined Shawn and I for lunch at the Firehouse. Not only for his pleasant company, but for his generosity as well.
You see, for the 49th consecutive time (okay, made up the figure but you get my drift), Shawn allegedly left his wallet in the car when it came time to pick up the tab. So, as always, it was a “thumbs down” as he held “up” the check. Jordan quickly stepped in, and said he’d take care of this. Thanks, guy. And, get used to this scene for the ensuing times Ray comes down to shoot with you.
Recent IRON MAN cover model Danny Hester eventually showed up as well and, copied my order of egg whites, chicken breasts—and pancakes! So, what’s so special about that? Real special, since this amazing 41-uear-old says he’s probably hopping on a plane on Wednesday, headed for Atlanta, Georgia. To COMPETE in the Middleweight class at the Nationals! Don’t worry, Hester fans, he still looks terrific, as you can see by the photo I snapped of him before we left the eatery.
I ran into big Gunter Schlierkamp when we walked back to Gold’s; Gunter said he could be making a return to the stage in 2011, but at this point didn’t want to make any target date.
Anyway, back to the predictions. I’m going with Keith Williams to finally get that pro card after second place finishes in the Superheavyweight class at last year’s Nationals and this season’s USA and North American Championships. Todd Jewell and Robert Burneika could be his greatest challengers—although both Shawn and I feel Steve Kuclo could be the dark horse here.
Can Fred “Biggie” Smalls nail his conditioning and take the Heavyweight class? Will Branden Ray show up, and finally display the pro potential he exhibited when he won his class at the Junior Nationals the first time he competed a few years back?
Can Hester topple Alan Bailey in the Middleweight division? What about the great battle in the Welterweight class? I’m going with Dr. Victor Prisk to cut up the division; to do that he has to beat this year’s USA class winner, Luis Santa Claus.
Don’t forget the rematch from the USA of the Kelly Bautista/Leonardo Pacheco classic in the Lightweight division. Shape (Bautista) versus thickness (Pacheco). Throw in Luis Santiago, too, who was second in this class a year ago.
As far as the Bantams go, I’m going with Chris Darby—if he competes (had no list of the competitors, so doin’ the best I can). Richard Siegelman make may a splash, too.
Speaking of splash, need to go shower. Teaching at both East LA College and Pasadena City College, per usual, tomorrow. And, better start packing; don’t you always forget something when traveling? I need a three-day lead-time based on past experiences.
To some of you, see ya in Atlanta (I arrive Thursday, early evening). If you can’t make it live, check back on this site for my contest reports, with Roland Balik doing the video honors.