The sports superstar has sparked criticism after making the comments during a TV interview.

Eight-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has sparked criticism in the Philippines after describing gay couples as “worse than animals”.

“It’s common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex?” Pacquiao told local broadcaster TV5.

“Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female.

“If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals.”

The boxer has recently reinvented himself as a conservative politician – attempting to appeal to the country’s strong Catholic population after years of womanising and hard partying.

Pacquiao gave the television interview as part of his campaign for one of 12 seats in the nationally-elected senate.

The most recent surveys suggest he would win.

However, critics were quick to attack the boxer’s comments, branding Pacquiao a “bigoted hypocrite” and a “blind prophet”

Singer Aiza Seguerra – who recently married her actress-girlfriend – called on voters to boycott Pacquiao, who is also preparing for his last boxing fight in April.

“You might have done our country proud but with your statement, you just showed the whole country why we shouldn’t vote for you,” Ms Seguerra wrote on Instagram.

“Outside the boxing ring, I don’t think Manny Pacquiao should be taken seriously. It struck me first as funny. I pity him,” added Kakay Pamaran, a pastor at one of Manila gay churches.

“I would advise him to talk to more LGBT persons, meet them and not just reduce his concept of LGBT to the sexual act.”

Although same-sex sexual activity is not a crime in the Philippines, same-sex marriage is not recognised, and gay couples are unable to adopt.

Last year, two same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses in the Philippines – only to have them rejected.

Pacquiao’s comments follow those of fellow boxer Tyson Fury, who recently caused controversy after comparing gay people to paedophiles.

The boxer has simultaneously stood by his comments and denied being homophobic – while also claiming that sex with children was legalised by a fictional ‘Gay Rights Act 1977‘.