ON Saturday next at noon in Bishop Lucey Park, the Cork sporting public will have an opportunity to meet Steve Collins, the former WBO super middleweight champion of the world.
The occasion will be to mark the 25th anniversary of his victories over Chris Eubank in 1995 in Cork.
Collins will have a plaque unveiled on Cork's famed boxing wall.
The place of pugilistic pilgrimage is sacrosanct to Cork's proud boxing tradition and boasts the names of Leeside's greatest exponents of the sport spanning three centuries.
On Saturday, Steve Collins, the Celtic Warrior , will have the unique distinction of becoming the first non-Corkonian to be inducted onto the wall of fame.
However, on the day, he will receive the status of honorary Cork man.
The City Centre park is located where Cork's only world champion Jack McAuliffe was born.
It was then known as Christ Chruch lane, and McAuliffe was born there in 1868.
Ten years later, he emigrated to New York with his family and won the Word lightweight championship in 1888. His was the first of many plaques which were erected in the park.
That plaque to McAuliffe was unveiled in 1988, exactly one hundred years after his world success.
The plaque was unveiled by Bernard Allen, who was then Lord Mayor of Cork.
It was the same Bernard Allen who was minister for sport and was at ringside when Collins won his title in 1995.
This promises to be a spectacular weekend that will capture the magic moments and memories enjoyed by Collins during his victories in Cork 26 years ago.
The celebration to mark the 25th anniversary had been arranged for last year.
However, due to the Covid -19 pandemic, these plans had to be cancelled.
On Friday morning, Steve Collins will visit City Hall to meet the Lord Mayor and sign the visitors' book.
Following his victory over Eubank on the 9th of September, Collins paid a visit to the then Lord Mayor Tim Falvey, who gave him a civic reception. Following that, he will travel to Pairc Ui Chaoimh where he successfully defended his title against Eubank.
This venue is no stranger to Cork boxing as for many years during the 18980s, the big gym under the old stand hosted the Cork County Boxing Championships.
Following this, Steve Collins will have lunch at the Silver Quay where Cork's first Boxing Breakfast took place.
This was ten years ago to honour Gary Spike O'Sullivan after he won the WBO International title at Upton Park in London following his victory over Matthew Hall.
Spike was coached on that occasion by Paschal Collins, the brother of Steve and this success saw him become the first Corkman to bring a WBO belt to the County.
Later on Friday afternoon, Collins will travel to the town of Millstreet, where he won the title. Here, locals have big plans in place to give a warm welcome to a man who has become a hero in local sporting folklore.
Collins will head up a vintage car parade. He will stop at the local museum.
Then on to the Green Glens Arena for a photoshoot. Following this, he will officially turn on the town's Christmas lights.
From there, he will travel to Hickeys Bar as the proprietor there, Sean, was one of his great followers and attended the majority of his fights.
On Saturday, the Steve Collins plaque will be unveiled, and on Saturday afternoon at 2 pm, Collins will pay a special visit to the Glen Boxing club. Here, he will enter the ring at Ireland's oldest boxing club, the canvas of which was autographed last December by the Taoiseach Michael Martin.
The Glen Boxing club has extended an invitation to old club members and followers of Steve Collins to come along and meet the man who retired an undefeated champion of the world.
On Saturday night, a celebration banquet will take place at the Kingsley Hotel. This promises to be an auspicious occasion.
The guests will include the Lord Mayor, the former Minister for sport Bernard Allen, Alf Smiddy, former managing director of Beamish and Crawford, who were Collins main sponsors in 1995, and Pat Falvey, the first Corkman to summit Mount Everest.
Other guests attending will be Gary Spike O'Sullivan and former Cork boxing greats.
Many members of the Collins family will travel from Dublin.
Ger Cooke of Heineken Ireland will host a table of former Beamish reps and employees associated with those Collins boxing promotions.
Guest will also enjoy footage of great moments of Collins' victories on the big screen while the man who did many interviews with Collins back then, Cork's Trevor Welch, will engage the champion in a questions and answers session followed by a night of great music.
This event has been organised by Conal Thomas of the Cork Boxing Fraternity Association in conjunction with Mick O'Brien, who as MC, has promised patrons a night they will never forget.