Manny Pacquiao has said that he “regrets” saying gays are “worse than animals” but won’t change his position.

After saying gay people are “worse than animals”, citing his Christian faith, Pacquiao has now told TMZ that he “regrets” saying the words, but that he still believes the Bible says so.

Speaking to TMZ, Pacquiao says: “I am not changing my position for what the bible says. But my mistake is just comparing them to animals. I am just human. Nobody is perfect.”

Pacquiao ducked a fight with former world champion Shane Mosley earlier this year who said he would challenge Pacquiao to a fight and would champion gay rights.

“I’ve made a commitment to my family that I’m going to retire after this,” said Pacquiao on retiring earlier this year after a fight with Timothy Bradley.

Eight-time world boxing champion Pacquiao sparked criticism across the world in February, after describing gay couples as “worse than animals”.

“It’s common sense,” he said. “Will you see any animals where male is to male and female is to female? The animals are better.

“They know how to distinguish male from female.

“If we approve male on male, female on female then man is worse than animals.”

Former world champion Shane Mosley said he would champion gay rights, and would fight on behalf of gay people hurt by comments Pacquiao made about gays being “worse than animals”.

Speaking to PinkNews, Mosley said: “My family and I are really upset about Pacquiao and the attitude towards gay rights in the boxing community.

“I would love to make everyone feel comfortable going to a boxing match.”

Tweeting after the story broke, Mosley said he would wear rainbow gloves in honour of the LGBT community, if a rematch were to happen.

Mosley and his girlfriend were on their way to watch Pacquiao fight Tim Bradley when he made the challenge. The fight was broadcast by HBO which condemned the comments as “deplorable”, but refused to take it off air.

Pacquiao has previously said that he was not bothered about the backlash – despite losing millions in sponsorship after being dropped by Nike, which described his views as “abhorrent”.

The sports star and wannabe politician has most recently claimed the comments were taken out of context.

“I don’t mean to condemn them. No one can condemn anyone,” Pacquiao said, according to theNew York Post.

“I apologise for using words that no one wanted to hear.”

was also banned from an LA shopping centre over the comments, and last week claimed he was attacked outside a restaurant by an assailant who called him a homophobe.