How restaurant waiter played key role in making Mayweather-Pacquiao deal
Milan Ordoñez on Mar 04, 2015 10:42 AM
Photo credit: Mayweather Promotions Twitter page
MANILA – A handful of people are to be credited for finally locking in the deal for what is dubbed as the “Fight of the Century.”
Most of the ones involved tip their hat to CBS Corp. president Leslie Moonves, who was said to have been on top of things since day one. CBS, of course, is the parent company of Showtime, the network that inked a reported $200 million deal with Floyd Mayweather for six fights.
Moonves was described as the “guiding force” when things between both the Mayweather and Pacquiao camps began to fall apart. But according to the 65-year old executive and self-proclaimed long-time boxing fan, another man should be given credit for making the six-year on-paper match-up become a reality.
Gabriel Rueda is a waiter at Los Angeles restaurant Craig’s, where Moonves is a known patron. According to Moonves, Rueda went up to him one day in the spring of 2014 (around April) for a quick chat.
"One day he says, respectfully, 'I know you're a big boxing fan and I know you're involved with Showtime,’” Moonves narrated in an interview with ESPN.com. “’My son trains with Freddie Roach. We've got to get this fight together. Freddie would love to get together with you.' I said, 'All right, let's set it up.'"
Moonves did agree to meet with Roach, and the two men went out for drinks in late May of that year. Soon after, Roach got in touch with Arum to let him know about the said get-together.
"I called Bob up and said, 'I met with Les and he wanted to meet with Manny but I told him Manny re-signed with you," Roach recalled. "Bob said, 'F--- him.' Bob was mad at Les too. But I said to myself if I can just get these two together that's the best way for the fight to happen."
Roach also helped set-up the meeting between Moonves and Arum, who were said to be old friends, but had a falling out due to a business disagreement. The two men met in Arum’s second home in Los Angeles in June 2014.
"When we got there they shook hands," said Roach. "They were going over ideas and they agreed that they could work it out between HBO and Showtime and that Les could deliver Mayweather and, of course, Bob could deliver Manny.”
“The only thing I said to them is that they should get somebody neutral to negotiate the fight, like Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton,” he continued. “They told me to go f--- myself, but when we walked out they had their arms around each other and I said to myself, 'This fight's gonna get made.' They just needed to talk."
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