**I usually don’t comment about the promotions I work for outside the realm of color commentary, as it could be seen as a conflict of interest.
However, I see what other people don’t, and the match between Derek Simonetti and Sean Leiter, tomorrow night at Proving Ground’s Crossing the Streams, hits a little differently.
Again, I see what others don’t.**
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
It’s a lesson Proving Ground president Derek Simonetti has learned the hard way in recent weeks by crossing the streams more than he could have imagined. Amid putting on a benefit show are accusations of self-dealing. If that’s not enough gasoline on the fire, Simonetti has drawn the ire of the new Proving Ground Heavyweight Champion, Sean Leiter.
Simonetti challenged his friend to see where he stands in Proving Ground’s elite pantheon. His respectful challenge was a disrespectful oversight through all the business deals and promotional obligations he’s engaged in.
Simonetti, the promoter, forgot what Simonetti, the competitor, would have never forgotten. You’re not a champion until you defend your belt. It’s an adage that all champions are too eager to prove, a fitting stance considering the titular nature of the company.
Sean Leiter has had a banner 2022, winning the North Shore Rumble en route to dethroning Mike Montero to become champion. Leiter saw his opportunity, right, and need to make his first title defense inadvertently denied by the man that most call boss, and he calls friend.
We saw the video, and Leiter is not giving Simonetti the option of a non-title affair. The Proving Ground Heavyweight Title will be on the line tomorrow night. Simonetti responded, accepted the terms, and raised the stakes, putting up the unified Bay State/All-Star Championship.
However, Leiter’s desire to defend his title stems from a strong realization that many have painfully learned. Beating Derek Simonetti is hard enough under normal circumstances. Beating Derek Simonetti in the Beverly/Salem Elks Lodge is different.
Simonetti’s house is erected on the foundation of battles forged by blood, sweat, and tears while enveloped by admiration of the Proving Ground faithful. Leiter knows this all too well. In fact, he knows it better than most, which is why he so callously said “F&%$ It” when making the call to put the title on the line.
For Leiter, a matter of respect blossomed into a steadfast denial of achievement with Simonetti’s non-title intentions. Champions rarely lose their first title defense, but champions seldom make their first defense against Derek Simonetti in the Beverly/Salem Elks lodge.
Tomorrow night, Sean Leiter gets what he wants. The chance to make one hell of a first defense while acquiring more gold, all in the venue that seemingly transforms Derek Simonetti from superhuman to supernatural.
If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you need to get on that and do so now.
***Updated 4/25/22: Three belts became one on 4/23 as Sean Leiter defeated Derek Simonetti to become the unified Proving Ground Heavyweight Champion by capturing the Bay State Championship and All-Star Championship.***