Claude Noel, this country’s first World boxing champion, is taking things one day at a time, he told friends at his Malabar, Arima home on Sunday.
Noel who has struggled with glaucoma for the past years which left him unable to have sight in his left eye, is now totally blind, as a result of constant deterioration in the right eye.
When Guardian Media Sports visited the boxer last month, it was realised that his condition had left him totally dependant on relatives, a position he lashed out at angrily, as he could not, for the first time, use the eyes to see opponents he would have knocked down in the past with. He also could not take care of himself in his home.
Noel was visited by his childhood boxing friends Michael Paul, Ralph Peterkin and Isaac Thomas, all considered boxing icons, and the quartet went down memory lane and laughed hysterically about their funny past.
Born in the sister isle of Tobago, Noel shot to world acclaim when he defeated Mexican Elgato Gonzales in 1982 for the World Title in the lightweight division. Following his victory, he was later honoured with the Chaconia Gold Medal and had a highway named after him in his native Tobago.
Noel was also a three-time Commonwealth champion from 1982-1984, defeating Barry Michaels in 1983 by majority decision, clobbering Steve Assoon that same year on points, and getting the better over Davidson Andeh, this time by a seventh-round stoppage.
Noel told his friends his fight now is to stay alive.
Paul told Guardian Media Sports he hopes the government can come to his assistance, particularly to help his relatives deal with his ailing health, as he also struggles with diabetes and other complications.
“Now we realise that money is not all. Sickness can take all your money, so maybe the government, through the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs can send a doctor to his home regularly to check on him,” Paul explained.
Paul, a former national middleweight and light heavyweight fighter who ended his career undisputed, called on the government to put things in place for all the former boxing icons, saying there are so many fighters who have done yeoman service for the country but are not recognised for it.