Larry Holmes will defend his WBC heavyweight title against Leroy Jones and John Tate will put up his WBA version against Mike Weaver in a two-city, March 31 TV presentation, the champs' promoters say, without saying what two cities. That's after Holmes defends Feb. 3 against Lorenzo Zanon in Las Vegas while Tate probably also has a tuneup. Later in 1980, Holmes-Tate for undisputed claim, if all goes to plan . . . The World Boxing Council cited Holmes and Sugar Ray Leonard jointly as fighters of the year but why Danny Lopez and Jim Watt over Sugarman as "exemplary" boxers of the year? . . .

"Cleveland, the best things in life are here!" proclaimed the button worn by Jorge Orta of Torreon, Mexico, yesterday, as the eight-year Chicago White Soxer (a .281 hitter but no Gold Glover, mostly at second base) signed to play five years with the Indians. What with that and San Francisco gobbling up Rennie Stennett, Milt May and Jim Wohlford in one swoop the other day, not many of the free-agent tribe at large, and one who is, Joe Morgan, may be thinking of a homecoming. That's right, to Houston, where for long years Astrodom rued the trade that sent him off to such an illustrious Cincinnati second-base career. Morgan and Astro General Manager Tal Smith met for long hours before Little Joe went home to Oakland to mull things over (with agent Tom Reich's aid) . . .