World Boxing Council welterweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard will defend his title against Larry Bonds in a 15-round bout in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday March 28.

Bonds will receive an $85,000 purse for what he called the "opportunity of a lifetime" this morning at a press conference. Leonard, the 24-year-old Palmer Park native, will receive percentages of the gate and every promotion involved. He said he had no idea how much that will amount to.

It will be Leonard's first title defense since stopping former champ Roberto Duran in November. The fight will be sponsored by Top Rank and its president Bob Arum, and the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce.

Syracuse was selected over Houston and Baltimore as a site. Officials of the central New York city promised to make the fight accessible to everyone, and tickets will cost $60 (ring-side) $20 and $10. The promoters say they are expecting a crowd of 25,000.

Bonds, 29, is a left-hander who is 29-3 as a professional. He narrowly missed the 1972 Olympics, losing to Sugar Ray Seals in a U.S. qualifier.

He is a humble, articulate man, who asked the 250 at the press conference to "pray for me." He said he has all the confidence he needs to battle Leonard, although he admires him.

Leonard's training camp, March 9-13, will be at the Hillcrest Heights Boys Club, 4104 23rd Parkway, Hillcrest Heights.