MANILA, Philippines - Some boxing analysts believe the controversial result of the trilogy bout between Filipino boxer Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao and his Mexican rival, Juan Manuel Marquez, should be a wake-up call for both boxers and for the sport as well.
Pacquiao escaped with a majority decision victory, with judges scoring the bout 114-114, 115-113 and 116-112. He retained his WBO welterweight title in the process.
Analysts Ronnie Nathanielsz and Ed Tolentino, however, were disappointed with Pacquiao's performance and called the fight "a wake-up call."
"He was the pound-for-pound king who was almost dethroned. It will hurt his stature," Nathanielsz said. "It was a major disappointment."
"There was no urgency for Pacquiao. I thought he started out well... but Pacquiao was suddenly anemic on offense," said Tolentino.
Tolentino said Marquez had Pacquiao "on a string" throughout the fight.
"He got away with the victory by the skin of his beard," he said.
Nathanielsz hopes the controversial victory will make Pacquiao realize that he needs to make changes to his team.
"I am hoping this is a real wake-up call for him, and he realizes that he has so many things he has to do. And one of them, is to clean his house," Nathanielz said. "The people around him, cut that number down and get rid of the guys who hang around and suck your blood, and concentrate on the sport."
Moreover, Pacquiao should realize that his activities outside the ring may be hurting his performance.
"He's showing signs of decline and it's not because of lack of training," Nathanielsz said. "It's because of so many extraneous activities he's involved in."
"His congressional duties, his late nights, his pool (games), his endorsements, his show, that's a debilitating thing," he added.
Nathanielsz said that while training in Baguio, Pacquiao would drive down to Manila to do a show and sleep in the car on the drive back to training camp.
"That has an effect on you physically," he said.
Tolentino says that Pacquiao's promoter, Top Rank chief executive officer Bob Arum, will have to change his tactic when it comes to finding opponents for Pacquiao as well.
"Bob Arum is also to blame for this performance. In his last 3 fights, Pacquiao has been fed pedestrian opponents," he said.
In Pacquiao's previous fights before Marquez, he defeated Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley via unanimous decision.
"Those are not the fights that will bring out the best in Manny Pacquiao," Tolentino said. "A champion is only as good as the quality of the opponents that are fed to him."
Tolentino says it maybe time for Arum to look for potential Pacquiao opponents outside of the Top Rank stable. It was the first time since his 2009 bout against Miguel Cotto that Pacquiao has been seriously challenged in a fight.
"Arum will have to start looking for competitive foes," Tolentino said. "If you feed (a champion) with mediocre opponents, he will become mediocre himself."
Counterpunching not enough
The controversial result to the bout should also serve as a wake-up call to Marquez, who rattled Pacquiao throughout the bout with his superb counterpunching ability, but did not get the result he wanted.
"For Marquez, it's the grim realization. The next time he fights Pacquiao, he might as well bring an ax with him," Tolentino said.
"It's not gonna come easy. He has to double the effort. He has to take the fight to Pacquiao next time. Merely counterpunching is not enough to satisfy the judges," he added.
Even though both Tolentino and Nathanielsz feel Marquez deserves to get a fourth fight against Pacquiao, it may not come as the Mexican boxer is contemplating retirement.
"Maybe I will retire. It is difficult after this... It is a robbery and of the two robberies I have had against him, this one is the more terrible," Marquez said.
Bad news for boxing
Although the fight itself was impressive, Nathanielsz and Tolentino agree that the result will end up tarnishing the sport of boxing anew.
"Boxing has had a succession of very, very bad fights," Nathanielz said, referring to controversial bouts between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Victor Ortiz, Chad Dawson and Bernard Hopkins, and Nonito Donaire Jr. and Omar Narvaez.
"This fight was supposed to be the saving grace, it ended up being a disgrace," Tolentino said.