While not named as defendants, Les Moonves and CAA have been dragged into the ring in a legal dust-up over the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather battle of last spring. Actor Gabriel Rueda today sued CBS, Showtime, Pacquiao and his trainer/coach Freddie Roach in a multi-claim breach-of-contract complaint filed in L.A. Superior Court. Claiming things got rough at one point, Rueda, who also goes by Gabriel Salvador, says he is owed more $8.6 million for making introductions for the CBS boss that led to the record-breaking May 2015 Fight of the Century.
Rueda’s claim is based a promise he says was made of a finder’s fee of 2% of the $430 million that Les Vegas-hosted fight made for Showtime and HBO in pay-per-view fees. CBS had no comment on the lawsuit from the actor, who had appeared on CSI, NCIS, Bones, Grimm and others over the years. Of course, like all good deals, this seems to be a case of who you know, and sometimes-Craig’s waiter Rueda seemed to know some of the right higher-power people in the dirty worlds of showbiz and boxing. Non-defendant Moonves is known to be a frequent diner at the West Hollywood joint.
“Salvador gave Defendant CBS network President Leslie Moonves and the Showtime Network an ‘in’ to the most coveted and lucrative match-up in boxing history by introducing Moonves to Manny Pacquiao’s trainer and confidant Freddie Roach,” says the nine-claim complaint, which seeks various damages (read it here).
“Salvador also helped Roach and Pacquiao land the biggest payday of their careers by introducing Roach to Moonves, who is one of the most powerful men in broadcasting and one of its best negotiators,” the filing adds. “Salvador’s introduction of Moonves to Roach and Pacquiao helped bring boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. to the table; despite Mayweather’ s vow never to ‘do business again in life’ with Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum, Salvador’s introduction kick-started successful negotiations between the two fighters’ camps after those negotiations languished unsuccessfully for the prior 6 years.”
And, once Moonves and Roach had their first supposed meeting on May 28, 2014, at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills – well, the last line of the complaint’s introduction will undoubtedly lead to more than a few smiles in the CBS executive suites. “Where Manny Pacquiao ‘s promoter Bob Arum failed, Leslie Moonves prevailed,” it says.
Rueba/Salvador did get some payday from the fight with a ticket to the big battle, a Vegas hotel room and $10,000 to cover “expenses” for the weekend. Of course, that is nowhere near the millions he says Moonves previously had “verbally reassured” him he would be paid “if the Fight went forward.” The fight did go forward, more than 3 million people forked out a $100-plus PPV fee .and Mayweather won — though issues of Pacquiao’s health arose soon afterward. As if to reinforce some of the less savory aspects of the boxing world, Rueda asserts in his complaint that he soon was pressured on June 29 last year by defendant and lawyer Keith Davidson at the Coffee Bean at Sunset and Fairfax to drop any more attempt at the finder’s fee for a $50,000 payment.
“Plaintiff Salvador reported Defendant Davidson’ s misconduct to Moonves,” says the dense complaint that often reads like a first draft of a crime novel. “Moonves later told Salvador that he believed that Defendant Davidson had been sent and instructed by either the agent at Creative Artists Agency named Nick Khan — who represents Defendants Roach and Pacquiao — or Defendant Roach,” it adds. “Moonves asserted that Roach and Pacquiao’ s threats had ‘nothing to do with me.’ Moonves stated that he would call Salvador’s employer and explain that it would be a bad idea to fire Salvador for not accepting Roach/Pacquiao’s ‘offer.'”
Rueda/Salvador filed a report with the LAPD about being followed and watched. While the LAPD allegedly contacted Davidson about the matter, the plaintiff also says he called CAA’s Khan and got an apology about Davidson’s manner and “behavior.” Rueda/Salvador still works at Craig’s, his complaint notes. BTW – sources tell Deadline that while CAA reps Roach they do not represent Manny Pacquiao.
Having said that, it might take a bit longer than 12 rounds, but be sure that CBS and Showtime will be throwing some punches of their own in this matter very soon. As it is, Rueda/Salvador has in his corner Amman Khan of L.A.’s Khan Law Office.