A triumphant Sugar Ray Leonard returned to Baltimore-Washington International airport yesterday and was greeted by two dozen friends and supporters and the questions of a score of newsmen.

Relaxed and ebullient after his eighth-round TKO of Roberto Duran in New Orleans Tuesday night, Leonard told an airport news conference he had no immediate plans other than to rest and take it easy for a while.

"I'm going to enjoy my new home and spend some time with my wife and son," Leonard said.

It was a small but enthusiastic and vocal gathering that greeted Leonard as his plane touched down about 4:40 p.m.

"The word just didn't get out. There would have been thousands of people here if they knew when Ray was coming," one man said.

Flanked by his wife Juanita and son Ray Jr., Leonard held his son's hand up and said, "They said I lost in Montreal because he wasn't with me. He was with me in New Orleans last night."

Leonard said he will enjoy a long period of rest and relaxation at home with his family and friends before deciding when or whether to fight again.

"Juanita was after me to retire after Montreal," he said. "but I had to fight again. People who I thught were my friends were going around saying, 'Ray got his butt beat.' I had to show them."

In any event Leonard said, it is likely to be some time before he fights again because there is no one in his weight class who has achieved his reputation or stature.

"I beat the Hands of Stone last night in New Orleans," Leonard said. "I beat a living legend. That makes me a living legend, and I beat him mentally."

Duran finally decided to end the fight, Leonard said because "he was bewildered, he was dazed,, he was frustrated, he was confused and he was beaten.