Meet the FOX star who made Mayweather-Pacquiao bout a reality

Gabriel Salvador - Bjoern Kommerell

Gabriel Salvador may or may not win an Emmy for his recurring role on the FOX television series “Bones.” But the Bronx native will receive an award of sorts when he sits ringside at the May 2 mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Salvador will be seated next to Leslie Moonves, the CEO of CBS/Showtime, as gratitude for Salvador’s role in making the long-anticipated bout a reality. It was Salvador, a graduate of DeWitt Clinton High School in the north Bronx, who brokered the initial meeting between Moonves and Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach. That meeting provided the spark that ultimately led to an agreement for a fight five years in the making.

“Les deserves every bit of the credit for making things happen,” Salvador told The Post. “But I’m very delighted about my little part in helping this match get set up. Everybody talked about how it couldn’t get done. But I actually helped get it started, and that’s what I’m very proud of.”

Here’s how the confessed “New Yorker through and through” got things going, beginning with his son, Elijah Rueda, who is a senior at Brooklyn Tech and trains at Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club while visiting his father in Los Angeles.

“Every time Elijah would go to the gym, I’d stand off to the side and watch my son train,” Salvador said. “Every now and then I’d say to Freddie, ‘You’ve got to make this [Mayweather-Pacquiao] fight happen.’ Freddie would say, ‘It’s out of my hands. There’s not much I can do.’ I told Freddie that one day, ‘I’m going to have an opportunity to set something up, and when I have that opportunity, I need you to trust me.’ ”

Salvador supplements his established acting career by working as a waiter at the popular Craig’s Restaurant in West Hollywood, where Moonves frequently dines. His idea was to get Roach and Moonves together to “open the lines of communication,” knowing Mayweather was under an exclusive contract to Showtime and Roach had the ear of the Pacquiao camp.

“When Les would come in the restaurant, he’d sit at my table, and we would talk about boxing,” said Salvador, who calls Felix “Tito” Trinidad his favorite fighter. “I thought if we’re ever going to get the [Mayweather-Pacquiao] fight done, we need somebody to facilitate all the parties and put them in communication with each other. I thought what better person to do this than Mr. Moonves. I said to Les, ‘Why don’t we set up something where you can sit down with Freddie Roach. We’ll just sit down … and see what happens.’ ”

That was May 2014. A few weeks later, Roach, Moonves and Salvador met for drinks at the Montage in Beverly Hills. Roach had sparkling water. Moonves had Ketel One Orange on the rocks.

“We started talking about legacy,” Salvador said. “That’s how we started the conversation. What’s going to be the legacy of Manny Pacquiao? What’s going to be the legacy of Mayweather? And what’s going to be the legacy of Freddie Roach?”

After that initial meeting, Roach arranged a sit-down between Moonves and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, with whom he previously wasn’t on speaking terms. Moonves then brokered a meeting with Arum and Mayweather adviser Al Haymon. That got HBO, which has rights to Pacquiao, talking with Showtime execs, which ultimately led to the fight being announced last February.

“I knew the only way this would happen is if people were in communication with each other and not talking bad about each other,” Salvador said. “I like to put people together. When they say, ‘It can’t be done,’ I like to try to find a way to get things done.”

Salvador’s acting skills will be on display April 9 and May 7 when he plays Alex Rockwell in “Bones.”

“It’s a great role they literally wrote for me,” said Salvador, who studied at Cornell before moving to Los Angeles. “It’s a guy who has a troubled past and is trying to make good on his life, but has his past catch up to him. It’s a role

I’m really proud of.”

He’s also proud of his role in making Mayweather-Pacquiao happen. - NYP

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