A waiter and part-time actor who says he played a pivotal role in putting together the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight has gone to court to get a piece of the record-breaking revenue generated by the event.
Gabriel Salvador filed suit against Pacquiao's camp, CBS Corp. and its premium cable network Showtime, stating he was promised a finder's fee for his help in setting up an early meeting that led to the May 2, 2015, clash between the two middleweights that became the highest-grossing pay-per-view TV event in history.
The fight generated more than $430 million in revenue for CBS and Showtime, which shared the event with Time Warner's HBO. Salvador is asking for "no less" than $8.6 million based on an oral agreement he claims to have had with CBS and Pacquiao's trainer and confidant, Freddie Roach, who is named in the suit.
The complaint says Salvador provided an "in" to setting up the fight by introducing CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves to Roach.
Salvador had gotten to know Roach through visits to the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood. As a waiter at Craig's, the West Hollywood restaurant frequented by entertainment industry types, Salvador had also struck up a friendship with Moonves over their mutual passion for boxing.
While the match was long a highly desirable event for fight fans, discussions were stalled for years due to the undefeated champion Mayweather's unwillingness to deal with Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum. Such disputes are common in the fight game.
Salvador's suit said a May 28, 2014, meeting that he coordinated between Roach and Moonves at the Scarpetta restaurant in Beverly Hills helped facilitate the fight and that both sides promised him a finder's fee if the event went forward. Salvador claims they agreed on 2% of the gross proceeds received by Pacquiao and CBS for the fight.
The suit cites quotes to the press by Arum made after the fight was announced in which the promoter said Salvador played a role in making the long-anticipated event happen.
Salvador said he received no compensation beyond $10,000 to cover his hotel and travel expenses for attending the fight in Las Vegas.
In the suit, Salvador said he later approached Moonves about further payment. Moonves then called Creative Artists Agency's Nick Khan, who represents Roach, on Salvador's behalf.
According to the suit, Salvador was later contacted by Keith Davidson, said to be a contracted associate of Pacquiao, who told him to accept a $50,000 payment. Davidson, also named as a defendant in the suit, is charged with having told Salvador he would be fired from his job at Craig's and would "never work as an actor in this town again" if he failed to take the offer and release CBS and Pacquiao from any future claims.
Davidson falsely claimed that he worked for Moonves, the suit noted.
Salvador filed a police report that detailed what he said were threatening statements made by Davidson. The suit said Khan apologized to Salvador for Davidson's behavior and that the plaintiff has been able to hold onto his job at Craig's.
A spokesperson for CBS said the company has no comment on the suit.