Peter, V. Klitschko make deal for heavyweight title fight

Nothing like waiting until the last minute.

For weeks, the handlers of heavyweight titleholder Samuel Peter and oft-injured unretiring former titleholder Vitali Klitschko have been negotiating their mandatory fight under the deadline pressure of a looming purse bid. When the sides couldn't reach an agreement, the camps converged Thursday on WBC headquarters in Mexico City prepared for the auction.

Klitschko manager Shelly Finkel, for example, held out hope that they could make a deal Wednesday night, but when they couldn't, he left New York for Mexico on a 1:30 a.m. Thursday flight.

Finally, moments before the scheduled bid, Peter promoter Dino Duva, Finkel, Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions and Don King, a partner in Duva's promotional company, announced that they reached an agreement on a co-promotion, thus avoiding a purse bid that could have seen control of the fight go to an outsider with the highest bid, such as Ahmet ├ľner, the CEO of German promotional company Arena, who was in Mexico City intending to make an offer.

One critical aspect of the deal they made will allow Peter to take an interim title defense as long as it takes place by the end of July.

"We will work together to maximize the revenue," Duva told ESPN.com. "Sometimes the psychology of there being a purse bid and a deadline is what it takes for people to finally make a deal. That's what happened here. We're very happy with the deal. I believe we made the best deal."

Duva Boxing will be the lead promoter of the event in conjunction with Klitschko's company, K2. Specific terms were not released but the Peter side will get slightly more than 50 percent of the revenue, Duva said.

"I'm relieved. I was hoping we could have gotten this done sooner but I thought once we got here we could get it done without a bid," said Finkel, who was with Duva on the way to the airport after they made the deal.

Although no specific date has been determined, Duva said the fight most likely will take place on either Oct. 4 or Oct. 11.

And where will it take place?

"We're going out there to find the best deal possible," he said. "It can be at any point of the globe."

With Klitschko's popularity in Germany, that is a possible site.

There is no U.S. television deal in place either, although HBO and Showtime both figure to have interest.

Duva said he would prefer to go on Showtime.

"I would prefer for it to go on Showtime," he said. "My heart is with Showtime. I mean that 100 percent because they have always been there to support Sam."

Peter (30-1, 23 KOs), the heavy-punching native of Nigeria living in Las Vegas, won his title on HBO on March 8 by scoring a sixth-round knockout of Oleg Maskaev in Cancun, Mexico, a fight that was originally ticketed for Showtime until an injury to Maskaev forced it to be postponed.

Besides the financial terms, the Klitschko camp agreeing to allow Peter to take an interim title defense this summer was a deal-breaker.

"I'm nervous about it, but in the overall picture it was the best thing for us to do," Finkel said.

Duva said he intends to put an interim fight together for Peter.

"We will pursue an interim bout in July," Duva said. "The Klitschko side allowed us to do an interim bout if it could happen by the end of July, which was important to us. It's not guaranteed but we will try. Sam would like to fight in July. He would not be happy waiting until October to fight."

Duva mentioned such fringe contenders as Donnell Holmes, Carl Davis Drummond and J.D. Chapman as potential opponents.

King is pushing one of his fighters, faded 40-year-old Andrew Golota, who is 0-3-1 in world title bouts, including two first-round knockouts.

"If we do an interim bout it will not be for huge money," Duva said. "I want to give Sam the best situation. The Klitschko bout will be three months later and I don't want to put that at risk."

Klitschko (35-2, 34 KOs), the older brother of unified titleholder Wladimir Klitschko, is running for mayor of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, where Klitschko is from. The election is May 25, but he has said he will fight for the title regardless of the outcome of the election.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's firm, Giuliani Partners, announced Wednesday that it is advising Klitschko in his bid against incumbent mayor Oleksandr Omelchenk.

Beset by injuries, Klitschko has not fought since December 2004, when he knocked out Danny Williams in his only title defense.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.