Anthony Mundine’s world title hopes took a potentially fatal hit and raised questions over his boxing future after he was knocked down five times in a 12 round points loss to Joshua Clottey on Wednesday.
Mundine, the No.3 ranked fighter in the WBA’s International super welterweight division, was felled twice in the sixth and once in the third, eighth and tenth rounds at Newcastle Entertainment Centre.
The three Australian judges scored the Ghanaian the winner by margins of six, eight and nine points.
The Australian showed enormous heart to make it through to the end of probably the most punishing fight of his career.
“I got caught early and I couldn’t recover,” Mundine said.
“Full credit to Joshua, he put me on my back a few times, but I finished the fight.
“I’m not going to think about it (fighting on). Right now I’m going to take some time off.”
Former IBF welterweight champion Clottey dictated the inside exchanges, frequently forcing Mundine back and punishing him on the ropes.
Mundine did his best work when fighting in centre ring and putting some space between Clottey and himself
However the Australian didn’t use his jab as much as expected.
Both men complained to referee Anthony Shipley about the other’s tactics in the first round.
Clottey fell to the canvas near the end of round two after being hit on the back of the head, which caused Shipley to caution the Australian.
He put Mundine down late in the third with a straight right to the top of the head.
Mundine lost his right boot in the fourth when Clottey again scored well at close quarters.
Clottey put his stamp on the fight in the sixth, felling Mundine twice, tagging the Australian with a number of shots.
Mundine fought back gamely in the seventh, enjoying one of his better rounds.
Clottey continued to land blows are the fight dragged on, earning further knockdowns in the eighth and tenth rounds to remove any doubt about the outcome once the bout went the distance.