Sugar Ray Leonard likely will fight again next summer, but it may be a year or more before he meets the welterweight division's other champion, Thomas Hearns, the undefeated slugger from Detroit.

Mike Trainer, Leonard's attorney, said, "I don't see anything in the immediate future for Ray. He'll take a long time off now. Not a year, but more than the five months between the Duran fights."

Leonard is the champion of the World Boxing Council; Hearns knocked out Pipino Cuevas last summer to take the World Boxing Association title.

A Leonard-Hearns match is thought to be the next big-money bout in the welterweight division, but Trainer said such a fight is some time off.

"That's not a big fight yet," Trainer said. "Hearns has to be on home television a couple times first. Most people don't know who he is. The only people talking about Hearns right now are people who don't buy tickets -- the press." t

Hearns, who has been nicknamed "The Hit Man," is on the cover of a national boxing magazine this month dressed in black and carrying an automatic rifle. Here for last night's Leonard-Duran fight, Hearns sought more publicity by throwing a rubber chicken at Leonard.

At a press conference today, Leonard refused to talk about Hearns.

"I'm the news," Leonard said. "Hearns is irrelevant."