Sugar Ray Leonard will challenge champion Wilfredo Benitez for the World Boxing Council welterweight title in the feature of a televised boxing championship tripleheader Friday at 8 p.m. (WJLA-TV-7 and WJZ-TV-13).

The battle of undefeated welterweights in Las Vegas is billed as the richest nonheavyweight title bout ever, with both fighters getting million-dollar pay days.

Leonard, the 1976 Olympic gold medal winner, has won 16 of his 25 bouts by knockouts. Some of Leonard's hand-picked opponents have been criticized as less than top notch, but in lightning-fast Benitez he faces a slick, seasoned boxer.

Benitez is only 21 but has had 38 pro fights for 37-0-1 mark. The Puerto Rican is a converted left-hander who can deliver with either hand.

But under the careful tutelage of trainer Dave Jacobs and Angelo Dundee, Leonard is prepared. Two of his victims, Adolfo Viruet and Tony Chiaverini, were southpaws.

In a preliminary bout, world middleweight champ Vito Antuofermo (45-3-1) faces Marvin Hagler, who has knocked out opponents in 38 of his 46 wins.

To complete the two-site television hookup, Victor Galindez (55-7), the only boxer ever to regain the light-heavyweight title, defends his WBA title against WBC titleholder Marvin Johnson (23-3) in New Orleans.