Here’s a partial lineup of the 1971 AAU Teen Mr America. 17 year old Ray Mentzer is on the far left and 19 year old Lou Ferrigno is on the far right. In this additional image of the partial lineup, you see Mike Mentzer, third from left who, incidentally, looks like he could have easily beaten everyone in both partial lineups. Ray Mentzer is seen again, second from the left. An easy win for Mike Mentzer? No, Scott Pace won the 1971 Teen Mr America contest. What did Scott Pace, the guy who beat Mike Mentzer, look like? Great question. This article about the same contest describes this gentleman as Scott Pace. Unfortunately, the image is clipped halfway through the head. Luckily, this version of the same photo is not, but look at the leg structure and calf development on this guy, and also look at his face. And now look at this gentleman who is listed as Scott Pace and placed 2nd to Casey Viator the previous year, 1970, and is more likely the actual Scott Pace, with a different face, totally different calf insertions, etc…. than the photo that accompanied the article. So, this is Scott Pace, who was not seen in either partial lineup, but who beat Mike Mentzer, Lou Ferrigno, and the rest of the lineup in 1971.
Before we compare the Mentzer bros, take a look at this earlier shot of Mike. The year it was taken is uncertain. Mentzer won the Mr Pennsylvania contest, not the teen division, but the actual Mr Pennsylvania contest at age 19 in 1970, and this looks to be earlier. Here’s a couple other earlier Mike Mentzers, both likely in his late teens. He already looks like later Mike Mentzer. Nothing is lagging. Like a younger Reeves, who already looked like Steve Reeves, Mentzer looked like later Mentzer, pretty early on.
Ray Mentzer, on the other hand, didn’t look as mesomorphic and complete earlier on. Ray was taller than Mike, had cleaner vascularity, seemed to have the capacity for less subcutaneous fat, and had more olive colored, less stretchmark prone skin but Mike Mentzer looked a lot more naturally mesomorphic. Mike had clubs for forearms, a wider chest, a narrower waist, less boxy thighs, more of a flow to the quads, more of a flow to the body in general, and world class calves. Short of Matt Mendenhall, Mike Mentzer had one of the most prominent inner calf bumps ever. See our video entitled Matt Mendenhall calves for info on the calf bump. Both Mike and Ray stopped their competitive bodybuilding careers in their late twenties and it’s possible that Ray Mentzer could have beaten Mike at some point, but structure wise, which can have non genetic components as well as genetic, Mike was more naturally suited for bodybuilding. And who knows, physical therapy or some other discipline could help people improve their structures somewhat beyond what most currently recognize as possible. Ray kept improving before retiring competitively, adding muscle to the right areas, but it was on top of a bone structure, or posture, that didn’t allow his muscles to react or look the same way as his brother Mike.
Concentrating on the forearm muscles, Mike had longer flexor muscles, more development closer to the wrist. Mike’s outer forearms were also much more developed, giving him a Gunnar Rosbo-like herculean quality to his arms. Look at the herculinity the forearms bring in this casual shot of Mike Mentzer. Today, with the GH, Insulin, much higher androgens, synthol etc…, supplements that weren’t used by bodybuilders yet when Mentzer was competing, there are a lot of bodybuilders that can now technically get much larger than Mike Mentzer. But they don’t give off the same genetic cues that Mentzer did. You can look at photos of Nick Walker, and Walker weighs a lot more, he has more overall muscle, but that extreme amount of added muscle is masking a basic structure that isn’t at the Mentzer level of eliteness. Mentzer was obviously supplementing at the time but his basic structure was being enhanced, instead of his structure being masked. Others seem to be attempting to cover their less than elite frames with enough muscle to hide visual cues that they’re not elite structurally or genetically. Walker is elite but is elite in his body’s tremendous response to supplementation. If you look at these photos of Nick Walker and Mike Mentzer at 19 years of age, it is clear that Mentzer had the genetic edge by a very large margin, and that is why you can look at a photo of 225 pound Mike Mentzer vs a photo of Nick Walker at 295 and still be struck by the genetics of Mentzer, as opposed to Walker.