THE power-packed left hand of Ghanaian Joshua Clottey sent Anthony Mundine to the canvas five times and put serious doubts over the Australian boxer’s future at Newcastle Entertainment Centre last night.
Clottey outclassed the former rugby league star in a unanimous points decision – 116-108, 115-109, 117-108.
It was Mundine’s sixth loss in 52 fights and first in Newcastle in four bouts.
Mundine was floored in the third, twice in the sixth then again in the eighth and 10th, each time with Clottey’s left hand providing the telling blow.
Mundine’s camp considered throwing in the towel at the end of the 10th but he fought on to finish the 12-round contest.
After the fight, Clottey, whose record is now 38-4 (22 KOs), said Mundine made a mistake dropping to the super-welterweight division, where the Australian held the WBA international title until last night.
Mundine said he had no regrets.
‘‘I want to fight the best but I got caught early,’’ he said.
‘‘I finished the fight on my feet and at the end of the day you’ve got to have a go and fight the best.’’
The 38-year-old said he was not thinking about retirement and that he may look at a rematch with Australian arch-rivals Danny Green or Daniel Geale.
Mundine was stunned early in the third by a left hook then was floored towards the end of the round when he walked into a straight right.
Clottey kept the heat on Mundine in the fourth but the Australian got busy in the fifth to get back in the fight.
But Clottey soon regained his dominance in the sixth, rocking Mundine with another crisp left which sent him to the canvas. He regained his feet but was down again within seconds.
Mundine tried to counter-attack in the seventh but was on the back foot again by the end of the round.
Mundine was felled midway through the eight, Clottey again catching him with a sharp left. He recovered and finished the round strongly.
The Newcastle crowd lifted in the 10th as Mundine landed some encouraging flurries but Clottey never appearsed in real danger and sent the three-time world champion to the canvas for a fifth time with another left.
Clottey played it smart in the 12th and final round, avoiding any danger.