Mundine's boxing career in doubt after punishing loss
In this file photo, Australia's Anthony Mundine is knocked down during a WBA bout in Sydney, on January 11, 2010 - by Torsten Blackwood
Mundine, 38, the third-ranked fighter in the WBA's International super welterweight division, was felled twice in the sixth and once in the third, eighth and 10th rounds in Newcastle late Wednesday.
The three judges scored Clottey a unanimous points winner -– 116-108, 115-109, 117-108.
Pundits said Mundine showed heart to make it through to the end of the 12 rounds in what was probably the most punishing fight of his life.
"Mundine's world title hopes took a potentially fatal hit and raised questions over his boxing future after he was knocked down five times," Australian Associated Press' boxing writer Adrian Warren said.
The manner of his defeat raised doubts about Mundine's ring future in a career of 46 wins with six defeats, but he refused to speculate on it immediately after the fight.
"I don't want to think about that now," he said. "I want to take some time off and relax. Who knows?"
Mundine paid tribute to 36-year-old Clottey, whose only four defeats in 43 bouts have been to world champions -— Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito and Carlos Baldomir.
"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."