WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Vinny Paz alleges his signature was forged on contracts connected to the film “Bleed for This” and claims he is owed at least $175,000, according to a lawsuit filed against the filmmakers by the Rhode Island boxing icon.
The movie’s producer, Chad Verdi, and director Ben Younger, as well as Younger’s production company, are named in the lawsuit that was filed in Kent County Superior Court.
“Bleed for This,” released in 2016, chronicled Paz’s 1980s rise to fame as the IBF World Lightweight Champion, and then his comeback following a near-fatal car crash in 1991. The film had a reported $6 million budget, but grossed what many considered a disappointing $6.7 million.
According to the lawsuit, Paz was paid $125,000 of the $300,000 that he claims he was promised by Verdi and Younger.
Breach of contract and unlawful enrichment are among the four counts in the Warwick resident’s complaint that seeks unspecified damages.
Paz also alleges that three “agreements” with Younger Than You Productions, a California-based company owned by Younger, were bound with forgeries of his name.
The contracts were executed with the signatures “Vinny Pazienza” or “Vinnie Pazienza,” the lawsuit states.
But Paz “refuses to sign documents that do not correctly use his legal name” which was changed to Vinny Paz in 2000, according to the filing.
In the defendants’ answer to the lawsuit and their counterclaim that was filed earlier this month, they deny the forgeries and the claim that they owe Paz any money.
The counterclaim states the project contracts were amended in June 2014 and that Paz “reduced his fees” due to “problems in procuring sufficient money” to produce the film.
It is unclear if the amended contracts are what the lawsuit alleges were forged, and neither Paz nor the defendants have returned requests for comment from Target 12.
At the 2016 premiere, Paz was ebullient about the film, saying it was “paz-tastic.”
“Little Vinny Paz from Cranston, Rhode Island, is going to inspire the world and it’s that kind of movie,” Paz said from the red carpet. “It’s pretty cool.”
Verdi was equally excited about the finished product, calling the film his “passion project.”
“We have one goal: tell Vinny’s story and let the world decide if they like it or not,” Verdi said about a week before the premiere.
Local moviegoers and several critics did like “Bleed for This,” although box-office results were said to be disappointing.
Now Paz is asking for a jury trial and damages from the filmmakers, who have punched back with a counterclaim against the boxer who lived the plot.